Careers

Science of Persuasion Can Help Careers and Companies


If you want to get ahead in a career, you may want to investigate the science of persuasion.

Behavior expert Steve Martin outlines some of the techniques that work in his book, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. The Wall Street Journal has a story on his advice. It includes:

• Managers can tap social norms to create consensus in the workplace. One study, for example, tracked how information cards persuaded hotel guests to reuse their towels. The towel reuse rate increased by 26 percent when cards informed guests that 75 percent of the hotel’s guests reuse their towels. The rate increased to 33 percent when the cards said 75 percent of those staying “in this room” reuse their towels.

• People are more likely to respond when they feel they owe someone something. A waiter who delivers a piece of candy with the restaurant tab, for example, is more likely to get a tip.

• Identifying common ground with a party in a negotiation—noting your kids are similar ages, for example—nearly doubles favorable outcomes.

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