Psychology & Communication

The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say Yes in 8 minutes or Less

The Science of Influence

Summary of “The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say Yes in 8 minutes or Less” : Kevin Hogan, influence expert, has tested, studied and developed innovative principles that govern the science of influence; he encourages us to discover how to apply these models of persuasion in order to develop our ability to convince others, as well as to improve our ability to gain the support of others.

By Kevin Hogan, 2009, 179 pages.

Note: this review is written by guest, Renaud Czerwiec, from the Conversational Hypnosis blog

Chronicle and summary of “The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say Yes in 8 minutes or Less” 

Chapter 1: How to get other others to change

In the book “The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say Yes in 8 minutes or Less”, Kevin Hogan invites us to discover the art and science of influence. He describes the processes and mechanisms to transform a “no” into a “yes”, whether it’s in our professional or personal life.

What are the shortcuts that create lasting change in the behaviors, attitudes and motivations of our interlocutors? What are the factors that affect our ability to create lasting consent in the minds of others? Whether we are parents, teachers, marketers, coaches, salespeople, etc., learning to convince or motivate others is a skill that can be learned.

How to influence others to change permanently?

Author Kevin Hogan encourages us, throughout The Science of Influence, to look specifically at the word permanently. Why? Because permanent change is difficult. How many times have you noticed how someone who deviates from their initial opinion, only to come right back to it, like an elastic band attached to a sling.

One day they tell you “yes”; the next, they go back on their decision and say “no”.  Their propensity to change their mind oscillates over time, like a clock’s pendulum. This is called the oscillation phenomenon. Once you have mastered it, you will have learned to master one of the revolutionary principles in the art of turning a no” into a yes”. Permanently.

We will come back to this a little later.

Do humans follow the status quo?

How can we develop our ability to transform a “no” into a “yespermanently? It’s not that easy. The problem is that the wiring of our brain pushes us to make decisions routinely, based on our past thought habits. This is the principle of consistency.

Almost as if our routine behaviors were conditioned reflexes written in stone in the deepest part of our brain. Have you ever heard of brain neuroplasticity?

That doesn’t sound familiar to you? Imagine the most motivated person in the world who decides to change their eating habits. This time, it’s for real. At first, everything is simple. They want to change their habits. It works pretty well the first few days. Until the day when… crash.

The old conditioned habits make the person relapse, like a programmed machine, one hand in a pack of chips unwittingly left in the cupboard. The same applies to our preconceived notions, our belief systems, our habits anchored in the stone of our brain.

All these parameters that make us say “no” to change, even desirable change.

So, according to Kevin Hogan, if you want to change the behaviors, attitudes and decisions of others, it is essential to cause these changes repeatedly. Almost as if the repetition of a new behavior or a new idea would create, in the brain, a new path.

Influence both the conscious and subconscious brain

If we wish to develop our faculty of persuasion, let’s become skilled negotiators. Like a seasoned negotiator, let’s learn to communicate with the conscious and subconscious brain of others at the same time. For both are indissociable actors helping to shape a personality, a behavior and habits of thought.

For example, did you know that the conscious mind is an exceptional calculator. It analyzes, filters, compares information. It therefore decides what gets to the subconscious level. As for the subconscious brain, it’s the mastermind of our decision making, our emotional reactions and our intuitions. As the headquarters of our needs and values, it is ultimately what makes the final decision concerning our tastes, our reactions, our attitudes and decisions in everyday life, without us even realizing it.

Are the conscious mind and the subconscious mind on a boat, falling overboard?

The conscious and subconscious mind is distinguished by totally different ways of functioning, sometimes completely contradictory. If we wish to increase our power of persuasion, we must take this into account.

Thus, learning to project our interlocutor in a potential future where their needs and desires will be realized is a very powerful vector of persuasion. As an influential communicator, our role will be to get them, through our suggestions, to follow step by step a path that will lead them to this desired future, a path of change. 

Kevin HoganThe essential ingredients that make up the recipe for influence, according to Kevin Hogan

  • Each person has a conscious and subconscious mind that functions according to different characteristics. To influence the person, one must take into account this singularity.
  • The first impression is essential and conditions an interaction between two people. It’s vital to begin the process of influence at this stage.
  • Credibility and perceived authority are key factors to consider in the success of the influence process.
  • By playing on the perception of time (use of the future and the past), it becomes easier to influence the thought process of others.
  • If you want to influence others, it’s essential to reduce their resistance.
  • If you master the oscillation phenomenon, you’ll know how to influence anyone, anytime.
  • The formulation of leading questions has a dramatic effect to successfully guide the thoughts, emotions and perceptions of the other person.
  • People do not make rational decisions that are in their best interests, but rather based on information presented to them.
  • Persuasion is much easier in a group because the sense of belonging to a group tends to lower the critical factor of the individual who belongs to it.
  • By changing a person’s environment, you increase their suggestibility, and therefore, your ability to change their behavior and obtain their consent.

Chapter 2: It all comes down to the first four seconds

Four seconds. This is the time needed to form an opinion of a person you’re meeting for the first time. According to Kevin Hogan, we subconsciously judge and evaluate others in four short seconds. Enough to categorize the person in the “yes”; “no”, or “maybe” box.

Thus, we all tend to trust a person with authority status. This is what human nature is all about. Because we are mammals conditioned by the notion of hierarchy. We are genetically and culturally wired to feel drawn to the alpha-type individual. Look elsewhere in nature, and you will observe that the alpha animal influences the other animals and conditions the life of the pack.

Enough about animals, let’s get back to human beings. Do you want to increase your appeal, your credibility and therefore your ability to convince others? It’s important to be aware of how your verbal, non-verbal language and the way you dress are perceived by others.

All these symbols that we carry as invisible suitcases are factors of attractiveness or repulsion. So, take care of them with all your heart. Because, in just four seconds, these invisible suitcases will have made the difference in the mind of your interlocutor, by seeing yourself through their eyes, in the “yes” box or in the “no” box. 

What are researchers’ conclusions on the attractiveness factor?

  • Attractive women are much more influential than women considered unattractive.
  • Male and female teachers considered attractive by their students tend to be considered (arbitrarily) as better teachers.
  • Taller men get better wages than smaller of men, regardless of job skills.

Kevin Hogan advises us to take into account the attractiveness factor. How? By focusing our efforts on increasing the likelihood of making an initial positive impression in the minds of others from the start. For this impression will be the signal of a positive relational aura that we send to our interlocutor.

Chapter 3: My delta model of influence

Making a good impression from the start is one thing, just as a good starter should make us crave for the main course. Speaking of main course in the phenomenon of influence, let’s talk about the Delta model of influence, one of the pillars of influence and persuasion, developed by Kevin Hogan.

N.B.: He talks about it mainly in the field of sales, but this Delta model of influence can naturally be used in other key areas, such as seduction, helping relationship, management, coaching, to name a few.

The Delta model of influence in 13 key points

Creating and maintaining an emotional connection of trust is essential in the process of influence. The Delta model of influence will help you achieve this. Here are the key points that synthesize this model of influence, developed by Kevin Hogan.

  1. Synchronize yourself with the other person, modeling and mirroring their world (How do they think? What are their desires, their fears, their values, their frustrations, their interests?).
  2. Show true, sincere and genuine interest in the person. This in order to create an emotional connection and reciprocity in the relationship (I am sincerely interested in you, so you are sincerely interested in me).
  3. Consider the indicators showing you that the connection to the other person is established, by observing their verbal and non-verbal language. Is their body language open or closed? Do they say “no” with their body, even when they tell you “yes” verbally?
  4. Discover, through questioning techniques, the needs and key values of your interlocutor. What is truly important to them? What do they believe in? Ane what are the underlying motivations that steer their choices and their decision-making?
  5. Through the use of questions, discover the rules that define how their needs and key values are expressed in the key areas of their life. Once the emotional connection to the person is established is the moment to explore the Delta model of influence.
  6. Pace your interlocutor’s breathing pattern to subtly induce a feeling of comfort in the person. For we tend to feel good about someone who is like us.
  7. Adapt your posture and non-verbal language to the person.
  8. Adjust the tone of your voice, a little like conversational hypnosis, to create the desired behavioral responses in your interlocutor. Voice mastery is an impactful factor of influence. It’s like music that, when used properly, can guide behavioral and emotional reactions in the other person.
  9. Guide the person with your physiology and your posture. If the connection has been established beforehand, the person will follow you and you’ll increase their suggestibility in your favor. The non-verbal can be used strategically. Think of the best lawyers during a defense speech. They are experts in the art of non-verbal suggestion.
  10. Use the principle of reciprocity to your advantage. Help the person by offering them your advice that will help them satisfy their unmet needs, and they will help you in turn.
  11. Use the power of stories and find a character whose story is similar to your interlocutor’s situation. Why? Because stories grabbing their attention will overcome their critical factor, in the same way they stimulate the person’s imagination.
  12. Create added value in the lives of others, do more than you promised them and use reciprocity to your advantage.
  13. Raise the interest and curiosity of the other person by the unexpected and the surprise effect.

Chapter 4: Pivotal point of persuasion: credibility

According to Kevin Hogan, credibility is one of the founding pillars of influence. Whether in the field of marketing, sales, seduction or in everyday life, the perception of credibility is built around 5 main key points:

  1. Perceived Competence
  2. Trust
  3. Expertise
  4. Relevance
  5. Sociability

Kevin Hogan insists on the difference between the perception of competence and competence itself. This means that, in addition to building your skills in the key area you want to become influential in, it is important to develop how others perceive your competence.

That’s why social proofs, your credentials, the confidence you project in your verbal and non-verbal communication all contribute to shaping the perception that others have about your competence. This is particularly important in sales and marketing, among others. If you, dear reader, work in the field of sales, you probably already know this.

Chapter 5: The new revolutionary principles of influence

Kevin Hogan explains that, in recent years, researchers in social psychology have tested new significant principles of influence. Numerous studies (1) (2) have shown that knowing how to formulate good questions has a particularly important effect on your ability to influence the emotions, thoughts and behaviors of others.

One of the key elements that researchers in social psychology highlighted is that human beings will do far more to avoid the loss of something, rather than to gain something.

The third element that the latest research in social psychology put forward is that people want what others already have, especially if they belong to the same social or cultural group.

The fourth element is based on the principle that people tend to overvalue what they already have.

The fifth element is that every human being appeals to higher values than their own personal needs, as a greater cause to defend, whether it’s our family, our business, our community or our social group. Influencing is therefore knowing how to play subtly on this step-down lever in motivation.

The sixth element that the latest research in social psychology demonstrates is that the need for competition is a lever of influence and of motivation that is very useful when properly used. In sales, the salesman who makes good use of this principle can easily suggest that anyone buying his product or service will have a competitive advantage over others. This lever of influence that is the need of competition applies naturally beyond sales.

Chapter 6: The power of omega strategies

In this chapter, Kevin Hogan shares with us the principle of Omega influence.

What characterizes the Omega strategy? Used in sales, it’s designed around an essential principle: to reduce the resistance of others to our message. Because resistance, refusal, objection or reactance are obstacles that are part of any communication process.

There are two kinds of resistance in communication. The first is reactance. It’s a knee-jerk opposition to any idea or message that threatens our freedom of choice. The second type of reactance is the anticipated regret of complying with a request or suggestion that is inconsistent with one’s values.

It’s therefore important, as a communicator, not to raise any form of reactance or resistance in the other person, at the risk of being told “no” permanently. In fact, it’s very difficult to change someone’s mind or opinion, especially if the latter has previously expressed their opinion in public. Why? Because human beings tend to behave in such a way as to be consistent with their past behavior or statements.

Chapter 7: Formulation principles, persuasion techniques and influential strategies

The perception framing principle – a commonly used principle in NLP and hypnosis – is a major tool in influential strategies. In case you have not yet heard about it, a perception frame states that the way an idea is formulated depends on how our mind perceives it. For example, if I say to you:

  • If you implement the following, you’ll increase your influence by 50%, without even knowing it.
  • If you implement the following, you could reduce your difficulty in persuading others by 50%, without even knowing it.

In your opinion, which formula is the most convincing. Did you say the second? Correct answer. Why? Research in social psychology shows that the fear of losing what one possesses is a more important motivator than the promise of profit or gain.

hypnosis

While paradoxically, it is the same idea that has been presented, but formulated in a different way. Do you now see what a perception frame is? This means that people don’t necessarily make decisions about what is best for them. No, they make choices based on how this information is presented to them.

Chapter 8: Applying the laws of influence

Kevin Hogan explains why our neurology and social influence affect our decision-making, far beyond what we could imagine.

  • Rationalization: the reptilian part of our brain, through subconscious processes, is responsible for our decision-making. Then, our reflective brain justifies and rationalizes our subconscious choice.
  • The ego diminishes discernment in our decision-making: many people tend to make their own choices, sometimes at the expense of other people’s advice. Only an authoritative person can get them to influence their choice. Therefore, it’s particularly important to develop authority, as we have stated earlier in this review.

Why you should apply these key principles of social psychology in your interactions if you want to convince others

In this chapter, the author shares the key concepts of social psychology that are a useful supplement to the Delta and Omega models in the process of influence.

  1. Apply the principle of reciprocity right from the start of your interactions with others. Because if, during the interaction, you offer value to the other person, they will naturally be inclined to return the favor.
  2. Use kindness. Because human beings are more likely to say “yes” to someone they find kind.
  3. Use the principle of commitment and consistency to your advantage. Have someone take a written position, and you’ll greatly increase your chances of the person being able to defend that point of view, even in the face of evidence that says otherwise. Politics epitomize this principle of consistency and commitment; sometimes to the point of absurdity, don’t you think?
  4. Use the principle of the law of association to your advantage. Human beings have the propensity to like an idea, a product or a service that is linked to a person whom they find friendly and respectful. Look how advertising and politics use celebrities to tout the merits of a product.
  5. Use the principle of the law of scarcity to your advantage. The more we desire something that is limited (quantitatively or in time), the more it has value for us. In this regard, marketers use this clever principle during planned releases, especially in the field of web marketing. This is the principle of creating values through scarcity. In other words, the more their product is introduced in a context of scarcity (limited time offer, limited access to 100 people, etc.), the more its perceived value grows in the eyes of prospects.
  6. Use the principle of the law of conformity to your advantage. Did you know that human beings have a herd instinct? Therefore, we are inclined to conform to the ideologies of the social group to which we belong. This means that, without knowing it, we tend to conform to ideas, products, services that are socially acceptable to the social and cultural group to which we belong.
  7. Use the principle of the law of authority to your advantage. People are more prone to listen to ideas, as well as to buy the products of someone perceived to have authority and expertise. Become that person.

NB: For those who are familiar with Robert Cialdini’s book, “Influence”, you have certainly recognized certain key principles. Principles also honored in the book Petit traité de Manipulation à l’égard des Honnêtes Gens“. 

Chapter 9: Using the secret power of oscillation

Have you ever made a decision, regret it afterwards, to only reverse course and flip-flop? I take it you have? Correct answer. Because, more often than not, we, as human beings, have a hard time sticking to our course of action.

made a decision regret it afterwards

On this subject, how many times have you heard someone around you say “white”…and do “black” some time later. Does that ring a bell?

For sure. Because we human beings are confronted with this intriguing psychological law called oscillation. What is oscillation? Oscillation is a key period in which our decision-making can swing and make us retrace our steps backwards.

What salesperson has never experienced oscillation syndrome in sales? Think of the salesperson, who, satisfied to have gotten a client to sign a life insurance contract, finds himself a few days later with a registered letter from the same client: “By this letter I evoke my right of withdrawal and no longer wish to take advantage of your life insurance services.”.

What could have changed in the mind of this client, turning their “yes” into “no”? The phenomenon of oscillation. After this client signed the contract, they began to experience regret because, in their mind, the balance between the benefits and costs of the life insurance began to oscillate in their head.

And it goes back and forth and swings between losses and profits. Like a pendulum, it oscillates; then the hammer comes down: the regret of having signed is too much. Ouch. A sale down the drain. So how do you free up your influential ability by using this oscillation phenomenon to your advantage?

The author suggests making the person you’re trying to convince imagine the anticipated regret for having made a decision that doesn’t match their interests and values over the long term. Afterwards, show them that, by following your advice, they will then be glad to have made the right decision.

The phenomenon of oscillation…what’s it all about?

An illustrated example is worth ten thousand words. Take the example of the sale of life insurance. With this technique, our seasoned salesman could earn the confidence of his client, after having established a relationship of trust:

“Sir, between us, I can understand your hesitation about the price of this life insurance. And there is no doubt I would react the same as you. Well, imagine that we don’t take this life insurance. However, I must tell you. Would you be brave enough one day to live with the regret of not having been able to protect your family, when you could have? Imagine if something happened to you…?

… Added to the pain that would afflict your loved ones, what would happen, if in addition, they were in financial difficulty? All because you didn’t make the right decision to sign for this life insurance. Today, you can avoid living with these regrets of tomorrow by trusting me, sir. And above all, you’ll have peace of mind later, knowing that you have made the right decision. A decision that is consistent with what is really important to you.”.

N.B.: How could you, dear reader, strategically use the oscillation phenomenon in your interactions with others?

Chapter 10: Being well informed about one’s interlocutor to find out what they’re thinking

Every good communicator knows this. The more we know about the desires, needs and values of the person we want to convince, the more elements we have to obtain their consent. The problem is that the river of communication is not always a long calm river.

In fact, many people are naturally reluctant when it comes to communicating their feelings, fears and needs. So, how do you go about flushing out these precious clues? It’s simple, according to Kevin Hogan. You just have to develop your observational skills.

Observe closely verbal and non-verbal language, micro-expressions, the way your interlocutor dresses. It then becomes easier to identify one’s personality, tastes, needs and concerns, along with their opinions, their standards, their codes of conduct.

Ultimately, there are many valuable clues in the quest for the adherence of others. This is a principle known to hypnosis practitioners, among others.

Chapter 11: Preventing or defusing “I’ll think about it”

Have you ever noticed that the more choices we have, the more we hesitate to make a decision…and the more we put off this choice to make? The other significant thing that researchers in social psychology have demonstrated is surprising, but valuable. The more choices we have, the more each choice’s perceived value diminishes in our eyes.

Quite paradoxical, right? This goes back to the law of scarcity. The rarer a thing is, the more we perceive it as valuable.

This means that by voluntarily decreasing your interlocutors’ room for maneuver, you increase your chances of convincing others to follow your ideas or suggestions. Think about the field of marketing. Anyone who has already taken marketing training knows this.

Don’t offer too many choices because choice kills the sale. To this end, Kevin Hogan encourages us to apply this principle in the key areas of life in which we seek the consent and approval of others.

N.B.: The principle of the importance of limited choice explained by Kevin Hogan is consistent with the double bind techniques used by hypnosis practitioners. This is in order to guide their clients in a strategic way, towards a positive change.

The seasoned hypnotherapist can tell his/her client during a hypnosis session:

“…A part of you might want to start changing now. While another part, it… may, eventually, take the time to change when it wants to…”

Ultimately, this person has the illusion of choice. Because they’re offered a binary choice. Either, they decide to change now, or they have the choice to change later. Whatever they choose, they are, nonetheless, encouraged to change. And that’s what their hypnotherapist wants. The mind of this person was clearly guided, thanks to the so-called double bind technique.

Planting a seed in the mind of the other person… without hurting them.

After the importance of the limited choice, the author explains to us this very interesting technique in order to direct, in others, thoughts, feelings and mental processes in a strategic way. This is to increase our ability to get them to say “yes” to our requests. How? Let me illustrate it with an example. Are you ready to play the game? Read on.

Well, as you read this article, you may begin to remember a few moments of that particular time in your life, between some time and now. Remember precisely that decision that positively changed the course of your life.

Perhaps it was a decision based on emotion, family or romance? And the more you start thinking about it, the more the images of that memory become crystal clear in your mind. That’s why you realize that your life today is a reflection of an enlightened decision you made yesterday, correct?

Well, after you buy “The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say Yes in 8 minutes or Less”, that’s the kind of feeling you may soon experience.

Because if you know today how to convince and motivate others more easily, it’s because one day you made the important decision to buy the book, The Science of Influence, and to have grasped all its principles. One by one.

So, maybe you’ll now buy “The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say Yes in 8 minutes or Less”? Or maybe you will take the time to read the opinions of Internet users before buying it when you feel like it?

Because, whatever your choice, after buying The Science of Influence, you will undoubtedly notice that your persuasive abilities will have greatly increased. And most importantly, you will still be with that nice feeling of having made the right choice to have the book, The Science of Influence, in your possession.

N.B.: Did you notice how I refer you back to your past, at the very moment you made a wise choice? What is the purpose of this maneuver? The goal was to reactivate your neurology by planting a seed in your mind. Then, to associate it with a desired behavior. In this case, buying a book.

Did you also notice how I applied other notions explained in this review? Oscillation, repeating the suggestion to buy “The Science Of Influence” (implicit and explicit), use of the future, double bind.

Chapter 12: How the client’s brain buys you!

In this last chapter, the author explains us the influential techniques applied to the sale. According to him, a successful sales process depends on several important, time-related factors:

  1. Drawing the prospect’s attention to frustrations and unmet needs after asking questions. You create the emotional connection of trust, while putting your prospect at ease.
  2. Turning their attention into sustained interest with a bold promise. So, speak to both their conscious brain, showing them factual evidence of the contribution of your product, and to their subconscious brain at the same time. How? By making them imagine their needs met in a near future, thanks to your product.
  3. Turning interest into desire, by showing that the product you are offering them can satisfy their unmet needs in a way that exceeds the promise of other competing products.
  4. Make the prospect take immediate action by linking their emotional state of desire with the buying behavior. Create a sense of urgency by showing them right away the regrets they might encounter in the future, if they don’t buy your product today.

Book critique of The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say Yes in 8 minutes or Less”

After reading The Science of Influence, I can tell you straight away, yes, “The Science of Influence: How to Get Anyone to Say Yes in 8 minutes or Less No to Yes” is a book you should have in your home library. Because even if it borrows the principles already seen in “Influence by Robert Cialdini, this opus written by Kevin Hogan differs from many books written on the subject of influence.

Through Kevin Hogan’s clear and reader-friendly writing style, he accomplishes the feat of making in-depth principles rather easily understandable. The principles of The Science of Influence will therefore echo, both in the mind of the specialized marketer, and in the mind of the average reader wanting to learn how to become more influential in everyday life.

Thanks to its originality, it also stands out from competing works. Because, unlike other writers, Kevin Hogan has created his own models of influence. Like the Delta and Omega model. He also incorporates comprehensive psychological principles taken from conversational hypnosis, like the stimulation of needs, the creation of an emotional connection, time factor, double constraints.

Finally, the author proposes to do an IPQ (Influence and Persuasion Quotient) to test our current knowledge on our ability to convince others. This is especially useful if you are a marketing or sales professional. This is to determine which points of improvement to work on.

A slight drawback is that Kevin Hogan could have offered more concrete examples outside the context of sales. Because even though The Science of Influence is specifically addressed to salespeople, it is a tool that can also be used for seduction, helping relationship, teaching, pedagogy and motivation. Examples of concrete cases in these specific areas would have been convenient, in my opinion.

Perhaps the author will take this into consideration for a future release? Anyway, go for it; without a shadow of a doubt, this investment is worth it.

Strong points :

  • A book on influence with clear and understandable language
  • Kevin Hogan’s scientific approach to the subject
  • Original methodology
  • Compact and pragmatic book

Weak point :

  • Lack of concrete examples adapted to other areas besides sales

My rating : The Science Of Influence The Science Of Influence The Science Of InfluenceThe Science Of InfluenceThe Science Of InfluenceThe Science Of InfluenceThe Science Of InfluenceThe Science Of InfluenceThe Science Of Influence

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