Influence and persuasion are two concepts that are often used interchangeably, but they actually have distinct differences.

While both are important in communication and interpersonal relationships, understanding the difference between the two can help individuals use them more effectively and ethically.



Influence refers to the ability to affect someone’s beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors without the use of explicit communication or requests. It can be achieved through the use of status, charisma, or social norms.

For example, a celebrity or expert in a particular field can have a significant influence over their followers or fans, even if they do not directly ask them to take any specific actions.

Influence is often based on social power, and it can be exerted even without the individual being aware of it.



Persuasion, on the other hand, refers to the use of explicit communication or requests to change someone’s beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors.

It involves presenting arguments, evidence, or emotional appeals to convince someone to take a specific action or adopt a particular viewpoint. Persuasion is often used in marketing, sales, and politics, where the goal is to change someone’s behavior or opinions in a specific direction.



While both influence and persuasion can be used for positive purposes, they can also be used unethically or to manipulate people. The key difference between the two is the level of transparency and intentionality involved.

Influence can occur even without the person being aware of it, while persuasion involves a conscious effort to change someone’s beliefs or behaviors.

Another important difference is that influence tends to be more long-term and subtle, while persuasion is often more immediate and direct.

For example, a company may use influence to create a strong brand image or reputation, which can influence consumers’ purchasing decisions over time. In contrast, a salesperson may use persuasion to convince a customer to buy a specific product or service right away.

Understanding the difference between the two can help individuals use them more effectively and ethically in their personal and professional lives.

Whether you’re trying to influence others through your expertise or persuade them to take a specific action, being aware of the difference between the two can make you a more effective communicator and a more ethical influencer.


Six Key Principles

six key principlesRobert Cialdini is a renowned social psychologist who has extensively studied the principles of influence and persuasion.

He has identified six key principles or “pillars” of influence that can be used to persuade and influence others.

These pillars are:

  1. Reciprocity: This principle involves the idea that people feel obliged to repay others who have done something for them. By offering something of value to others, you can trigger a sense of obligation or indebtedness, which can make them more likely to comply with your requests.
  2. Commitment and Consistency: This principle suggests that people tend to follow through on commitments they have made, even if those commitments are small. By getting someone to commit to a small action or idea, you can then build on that commitment to achieve larger goals or commitments.
  3. Social Proof: This principle involves the idea that people tend to follow the actions and behaviors of others in similar situations. By highlighting the actions or behaviors of others, you can create a sense of social proof that can influence the actions and behaviors of others.
  4. Authority: This principle suggests that people tend to comply with those who are perceived to be authority figures or experts in a particular field. By demonstrating your expertise or authority in a particular area, you can increase the likelihood that others will comply with your requests.
  5. Liking: This principle suggests that people tend to be more receptive to those who they like or who are similar to them. By building rapport or finding common ground with others, you can increase the likelihood that they will be receptive to your requests.
  6. Scarcity: This principle involves the idea that people tend to place a higher value on things that are rare or difficult to obtain. By highlighting the scarcity or exclusivity of something, you can increase its perceived value and influence others to take action.

Overall, understanding and applying these six pillars of influence and persuasion can help individuals become more effective at influencing and persuading others, whether in personal or professional contexts.


Pizza Example

Let’s assume you own a pizza shop.

(The same holds true no matter what kind of business you operate: real estate, physician, attorney, roofer, Web consultant, contractor, whatever.)

If you really don’t want to per- suade anyone, then why aren’t you running ads that simply state what you sell, the price, and your address, Website, and phone number, like this:

GIUSEPPE SELLS PIZZA: $9.99. 123 Mozzarella Road. (800)123-4567.

You wouldn’t do it on your life! Why not?

I’ll tell you.

Because you don’t dare want the prospects to make up their own minds as to whether or not they want to buy your pizzas.

You’d much rather make their minds up for them! (That’s persuasion.)

You’d rather tell them how to feel about your pizza. (That’s influence.)

The result being that they buy, buy, buy. (The end result of that persuasion and influence.)

Studying psychology to boost the effectiveness of your ads isn’t evil. It simply teaches you:

  1. What people want.
  2. How they feel about what they want.
  3. Why they act as they do.

And once you know this, you can:

1. Better understand how to satisfy your customers.

2. Influence more people to buy.

3. Get your quality products into more people’s hands.

4. Help add more satisfaction to their lives.

See? It’s not so bad after all, is it? Not if you start with a quality product.

Of course, influencing more people to buy a crummy product that typically self-destructs within the first week of ownership is some- thing else. You don’t need psychology.

You need a shot of ethics.


Want to get more sales ? 

REQUEST YOUR Free 30-Minute Strategy Session NOW