Influence From a female Dale Carnegie

by Karen Keller, Ph.D.

From Dale Carnegie to Robert Cialdini and Kevin Hogan, much information written on influence emerges from men.  Even though the ideas and opinions they offer are valuable, women are yearning to know what influence tactics, negotiations, and language resonate for them.

We are thirsty to study how we can use influence strategies with OUR minds, OUR emotions, and OUR desires.  A disconnect exists between what works for men and what works for women.  Why shouldn’t there be?  I don’t want to be a man.  Do you?

How many times do you think, “How would I, as a woman, approach this?” Translation – who do you have to get permission from, will you be corrected you on your decision, or is it safe to think, feel and act as you (a woman) with no fear of being questioned?

Those thoughts run through our minds because we are conditioned to think and act like a man, in a man’s world to get what we want – as women.  How’s it working for you?

Robert Cialdini has identified the 6 Weapons of Influence.  Weapons, really?  These are 6 simple yet powerful principles that can be used to evoke people to agree with you.  What do they mean to you?  How can they be useful to women?

1) The Law of Reciprocity

This states that we are indebted to give something back to the person who has given us something first.  Usually, the ‘something first’ is not asked for.  Many people will return the favor or buy something (yes, marketers use this principle effectively) just to return the favor.

This law came about as a survival tactic.  “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”

Woman Translation:  Now be honest, when your hubby brings you flowers, do you respond in kind with a little extra lovin’ in the bedroom that night?  Sure! This law puts us in the mood to be receptive to the person giving us something first.  So what’s the effect of this law on women?  We feel more obligated than men because we are conditioned to be ‘good girls’ – we are told to ‘play nice.’

2)  Commitment and Consistency

This law states that when a person commits to a particular opinion or action, they will stick to it like glue.  This is why first impressions are so important.  When we form a first impression we will do anything to make it true.  Why?  Because we don’t want to be wrong.

Woman Translation:  A woman’s nurturing tendencies open the door for us to be more willing to make commitments than men.  You’ve heard the old joke – men are ‘commitment-phobic’ and women want a commitment after the third date?  Women rely on their intuition to make commitments – not their fears.

3)  Social Proof

This is the herd mentality.  This is when hoards of women are buying the newest Chanel perfume at Macy’s and you do, too.  Why?  Because everyone else is so it must be good, right?  Would this be true if the perfume were called, Barn Scents?

For example – “I’m not an alcoholic.  There’s 10 other guys drinking too and they’re still standing.”  You see, the fact that they are still standing is the hook that says it’s okay and not harmful.  An example of the negative variety of social proof.

Woman Translation:  Woman are learning to trust their inner guide or as I refer to your ‘inner fluency.’  This gives us more direction than what others are saying.

4)  Liking

This law is how influenced you are by people you like.  Likeability is a composite of such attributes as physical attractiveness, ease and similarity.  Haven’t we all done things or changed a belief because we liked the person influencing us?  This law is apparent in it’s basic form – teenagers and popularity.

Woman Translation: The devious mind knows full well that there are people who pretend to be other than they really are.  And we like them, then we trust them, then we let them influence us.  All the while, them having a hidden agenda.

5)  Authority

This law is when people are influenced by someone in authority or a seasoned expert.  The Milgram Experiment is the most famous research showing how people will obey authority even when it causes others pain.

Woman Translation:  Again, this is the rule where women have been told to ‘play nice.’  Be obedient.  Don’t talk, sit down and be ignored.  I say speak your piece, stand up and be counted.

6)  Scarcity

This law targets people’s innate fear of loss.  Remember, humans do one of two things, we gain pleasure and avoid pain.  That’s it. Go ahead – think of something you do, say or feel.  I bet it comes under one of these two headings.

The scarcity law is rooted in avoiding pain.  Any time we think we may lose something we will go to great lengths to secure it.  Even to the point of protecting and abductor or abuser.

Woman Translation: I was explaining this law the other day to my 16 year old daughter, Megan.  After intently listening, she said, “Is this like if there are only four pieces of pie for a family of five, Mom says, “I wasn’t hungry for pie?”  She has no idea of her innate wisdom!

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Now, you may be laughing with this post – good!  I love to laugh, too.  Or you may be saying, “Holy crap, I had no idea of the flip side to these famous laws.”  This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s my golden message: the rules around most things don’t always work the same for women as they do men – especially when it comes to influence.  Women influence differently with our own set of intentions, meaning, and desired results.

Take the time to think about how you see the entire concept or principle of influence.  Where do you get your strength to knowing the art of influence for your good and the good of humanity?  What is the connection between your ability to have major influence and your intuition?

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