We are born with the ability to influence and persuade those people around us to care for us and protect us.  As we mature into adults we let go of some of our influencing abilities and instead resort to two or three default approaches.  The approaches we use are often based on the approaches we think would work on ourselves… but of course other people have different motivations and personalities so the same approaches don’t always work on the same people.

In this workshop we explored 10 of the most powerful influencing tactics in the world.  Many are recognisable as they are used on us by friends, family, colleagues, the media, politicians, marketeers etc.  If we can understand the psychology and science behind why and how each tactic works, then we can be more strategic in our approach to influencing others by combining tactics that consider the people we are influencing and the context too.

The Influencing Tactics

Remember to apply a combination of tactics based on who your are influencing.

Rational Persuasion

Using fact, logic, reason, statistics and good common sense to influence others.  This tactic is the most widely used and  powerful, but works best with targeted reasons rather than bombarding people with lots of reasons.

Inspirational Appeals

Here we use words to paint a picture of a vision of the future that is positive and appealing.  Our audience want that to be a reality so they are inspired to move towards this.  This is the second most powerful technique.

Burning Platform

The opposite of Inspirational Appeals as you create a vision of the future that is negative and risky that our audience would want to prevent.  Therefore they are motivated to take action now in order to prevent that future vision.


We like to help people who make us feel good.   Compliments, smiles and positive gestures all contribute to ingratiating people towards us (and so being more open to influence.  This must be genuine or it could backfire.

Social Proof

When uncertain about a decision we often look to what other people or the majority have done when facing the same decision.  We can use this to help people say yes by showing examples of others who have already done so.


If we give, do favours and be helpful and kind to others, they often want to repay that as they feel (often unconsciously) indebted to us.  In fact they will often ‘add interest’ by returning a bigger favour than our small gesture.

The Trust Equation

Building authentic trust boosts the power of all of the other influencing tactics.  We do this by being credible, reliable and open with others interests in mind rather than for our own self orientation.

Perceptual Contrast

The order in which we present options to others can influence the way they see each option.  E.g. if you presented an option first that was very expensive, a second option that cost less may appear even less expensive in comparison.

Commitment & Consistency

Large commitments can feel risky.  If we can get others to make a small commitment first e.g. attend a taster lesson, they then identify with us and are more likely to be consistent by choosing us in making larger commitments.


Others are more likely to be influenced by us if they see us having power or authority.  This can come with experience, job role, branding, confidence and even how we present ourselves in the way we walk and dress.