Elaina Norlin, Executive Director Broward County Library gave a very “persuasive” session on the principles and practicalities of influencing people to move things forward. With her broad range of experiences in the academic (University of Arizona), non- profit and now public environments, Elaina has observed and learned the art of influence from the best:
– Robert Cialdini’s Influence
– Kurt Mortensen’s Persuasion IQ
– Infomercials

Cialdini’s Influence: principles of influencing others:
Reciprocity: people are more open to being influenced when they have received something from you (give and take)
Social proof: people look for others like themselves to help them make a “buy” or “do” decision
Liking: people are influenced by this they like
Authority: people are also influenced by those whom they view as authorities
Scarcity: and finally, people are influenced to do or buy when they feel the item or action is limited

Persuasion IQ: How’s Your’s?
Surprisingly, at least for me, we tend to be persuaded more by those we find predictable than by those we trust. I suppose we could argue that the predictability increases our trust, but, yes, I can see that those we can rely on for consistent follow-through can certainly influence us. We’re also persuaded by those who are optimistic, are “like us” in some way, and who present their desired action or project with an element of emotion.

Not surprisingly, those who have a tendency to be introverted are better persuaders than extroverts. Introverts tend to listen more and better, enabling them to consider the dialogue a bit more carefully and craft strategies for positively influencing the discussion in their favour.

Conversations or presentations in which you wish to influence someone should repeat a clear simple message, end with a call to action or action steps, and be constructed around Tess:

She encouraged the group, quite rightly, to watch how infomercials use this approach. A $300B industry, infomercials are definitely influencing millions of people:
– They start with people telling their stories with testimonials
– Then an authoritative figure speaks (depending on the product this may be a doctor or celebrity)
– There is a “call to action” at least 3 times in the mercial and a simple message is repeated over & over (they don’t go into a lot of the benefits but rather stick to the essential message – libraries should definitely learn from this simple messaging technique)
– Because they are broadcasting to a wide audience their social proof appears in the form of people from a wide range of demographics.

Libraries need to translate these steps into their own actions. Identify your target audience to ensure the testimonials, statxtics and message “speaks” to them; in their advocacy program New Jersey Libraries had people from all walks of life join them in their presentations to decision-makers to ensure there was always someone for each decision-maker to relate to. And,remember that testimonials start with one person —- just start with one person and build. And do it.

Thanks Elaina for an articulate, on point program.