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How to influence with authority

How to influence with authority

Did you know you can’t not influence?

What you say and what you do influences people’s perceptions of you; however, what you don’t say and don’t do also shapes people’s perceptions of you. For example, if you don’t return a prospect’s phone call or email for two weeks, the not saying and the not doing speaks volumes.

Knowing that our actions and non-actions influences people’s perceptions of us, it makes sense to influence with intention. The law of authority – one of Dr Robert Cialdini’s six laws of influence – can help you shape people’s perceptions and position you as an authority in your niche.

This law is based on the notion that people will tend to obey authority figures even if they disagree with what is being asked of them. People will often comply with requests from people who wear uniforms of the armed forces or emergency services, have titles such as professor or doctor, or have implied status through their use of other trappings of authority such as an expensive car.

Examples of the law of authority used in marketing include a television commercial for toothpaste showing a dentist dressed in a white coat, expensive leather seating in the waiting room of a prestige car dealership, valet parking at a hotel or an Olympic athlete endorsing a brand of runners.

Some ways you can use the law of authority in your business include:

  • Dress like you are already a success. Clothing such as dark suits and white shirts have been shown to work well for some professions.
  • Trademark any intellectual property you develop.
  • When guest speaking, provide a biography of your experience and qualifications to the person introducing you so it positions you as an authority in your niche.
  • Use open body language to project confidence and certainty.
  • When speaking, use command tonality rather than questionning tonality. Command tonality uses a downward inflection at the end of a sentence whereas questionning tonality has an upward inflection. The latter can give the impression you are uncertain of your content.
  • Include accreditations and qualifications on your website, business card and marketing material.

Dr Cialdini’s six laws of influence – reciprocity, commitment and consistency, social proof, likeability, authority and scarcity – can be used to improve the effectiveness of your marketing program. To learn more, Dr Cialdini’s six laws of influence are outlined in his book, Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion.

© Ros Weadman, Melbourne PR & Marketing


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