I was listening to a short video recently about the “science of persuasion” – which is something I think we are going to need more of in the “Age of Trump.” We will need to be more on our “A” game in dealing with “red” energy. In the face of assertion and aggression, one needs to respond more fully, more robustly and with more presence.
The video shared the research of Dr. Robert Cialdini, an Arizona State University researcher in negotiation and influence. One of his key principles of influence and persuasion was the “Liking” principle. This principle says people prefer to say yes to those they like and that we like people who:
- give us compliments;
- cooperate with us towards mutually perceived goals;
- seem similar in some way to us.
What I found most interesting was one study cited to back up this principle. There was a series of negotiation studies with two groups of MBA students. One group was told that “Time is money” and to, therefore, get down to business and start negotiating. Those groups achieved 55% agreements. The second group was told: “Before you begin negotiating, exchange some personal information with each other – identify a similarity you share in common – then begin negotiating.” In this group, 90% came to agreements and typically with agreements that were worth 18% more to both parties.
Yet, when I work with people to help them prepare for a difficult workplace conversation, most people start a practice conversation by getting right down to the issue at hand. Whereas, the “liking” principle states that it’s the relationship that is most important.
As if to confirm this principle, I then heard a retired Canadian Forces Lieutenant-General (and Member of Parliament) on CBC radio’s As It Happens. Andrew Leslie spoke about the new Trump administration, repeating what both countries had in common and how they were working in the same direction. Then, he ended the interview by saying:
“It is so much easier to solve complex problems when you are talking with a friend.” … Andrew Leslie