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34 Examples of Influencing

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Influencing is the use of communication to impact the ideas, emotions, motivation and actions of others. This is a fundamental social skill that occurs within personal relationships. It is also a potent force of politics, business and social change that can be used to transmit knowledge, influence choice and motivate groups and individuals into action. The following are illustrative examples of influencing.

Social Proof

An appeal to social status.
A restaurant that posts photos of celebrities dining there to show that the place is popular.

Halo Effect

People tend to think that people who are good at one thing are also good at another.
A job candidate happens to mention that they were a star athlete in college.


An appeal to authority.
A salesperson happens to mention that they graduated from a prestigious university.


An appeal to emotion.
A political campaign depicts families who are struggling due to inflation and recession.


An appeal to logic.
A salesperson points out exactly how a platform will cut IT costs for the customer.


Suggesting that something is scarce and running out.
An ecommerce site says that a hotel is almost booked up with only two rooms left.


Creating the feeling that time is running out.
An ecommerce site offers flash deals that are only available for an hour with a timer in the shopping cart for when the deal will expire.


Doing favors in hopes that people will feel a sense that they want to pay you back.
Shoveling your neighbors driveway because you plan to ask them to pet sit when you go on vacation.


People like people who like them. Those who make friends are more likely to influence.
A manager who effortlessly influences others because she is a people person who is genuinely optimistic, kind and likeable.

Commitment and Consistency

Being persistent with the same message.
Asking a neighbor almost every time you see them to share the cost of building a new fence with various arguments for why it will benefit both sides.

Consensus Building

Building social support behind your idea.
An IT architect who argues a relatively new system is a failure and should be retired who has various conversations over time to try to bring people to support the idea.

Message Framing

Crafting communication for a particular effect.
A government releases the results of a study with a carefully worded summary that makes it feel like the study validates government policy.


Using storytelling to make your message interesting and memorable.
A salesperson tells often tells a story to customers that is funny and brief but also conveys how the founder of the salesperson's company is obsessed with quality.

Negotiation Techniques

Negotiation has its own traditions of influencing.
A town that wants to buy a property from a resident makes a final offer that is higher than market price but far lower than what the resident is offering. By making the offer final, the resident must either except the offer or forgo the unusually good price.

Building Rapport

Building rapport is a catch-all term for the process of establishing trust and liking that make it easier to influence.
A hiring manager tells a job candidate that one of their answers in the interview was truly impressive before beginning salary negotiation.


Generally speaking, people are more easily influenced by people with a strong personal presence.
A car salesperson says they have to ask the general manager of the showroom about a customer's push for a bigger discount. The general manager comes and introduces themself to the customer. This individual has an unusually strong personal presence and the customer feels that their negotiating power is draining away.


The easiest way to influence others is to show them how your idea will benefit them.
A salesperson looks for ways that a cloud platform can truly reduce costs for the customer. Their mindset is to be on the customer's side to solve their problems.

Active Silence

The strategic use of silence.
Letting an uncomfortable silence sit in the air after making a proposal with the other side struggling to think what to say.

Anticipating Objections

Considering how people will likely challenge to your ideas and preparing a response.
A student presenting a science fair project thinks though what the judges are likely to ask and prepares a response.

Call To Action

Directing telling others to do things using commanding speech.
Clean your room or no video games!


A nudge is a gentle suggestion that may be more effective than commanding language where you don't have much authority to command anyway.
An ad campaign that asks if the customer has ever had a common problem with subtle cues that the product solves this problem.


Framing an argument in such a humble way that people are likely to strengthen the argument for you in their mind.
Tuition inflation of 14% a year does seem a little high.

Choice Architecture

Carefully crafting the choices in an offer.
If you clean your room now, you can play video games. Otherwise, I need your help in the garden.

Taking the High Road

Taking the high road is the principle that you not match the poor behavior of others. This tends to put you in the role of the reasonable one such that you're likely to get respect.
A: You drive like an idiot!
B: Listen, we're both upset. Let's just exchange insurance and leave it at that.

Constructive Criticism

Framing negative criticism such that it focuses on the potential for improvement.
I can see you worked really hard on this and it would be so much better with a little editing to correct some of the grammatical errors.


Telling the direct truth where others might not.
You're the only person in the team who is struggling to follow the software development process. You need to get up to speed because nobody has time to keep helping you with these basics. You're a good developer, all your other work is excellent so this is just a small issue but please try.


Establishing a reputation so that people will follow your ideas.
The software developer who always seems to be the one taking on action items, delivering on time and solving problems for others. When this person offers ideas, the team tends to accept them.

Creative Tension

The use of group tension such as open argument.
Strongly and passionately arguing that a product shouldn't be canceled because you believe in it. Creative tension calls for a willingness to disrupt group harmony and to face political backlash.

Expectation Setting

Telling people what you expect of them far in advance and following up on this consistently.
A CEO tells the head of a business unit that they expect a product to be profitable within a year when they first fund the idea. They continue to push for the same target in each status report.

Heliotropic Effect

The heliotropic effect is the tendency for plants to move into the sun. As an influencing strategy, this calls for believing in people and setting high expectations of them.
A manager sees something good in every member of their team and supports each to rise within the team and organization. This manager builds an incredibly strong network of supporters within their organization by helping others to move ahead.


Kairos is the ability to do something when the time is right. This is associated with wit and the ability to say the perfect thing at the perfect time.
A manager has a fearsome wit such that people fear arguing with them for fear of looking comparatively slow. The manager is often able to push ideas ahead without much challenge.

Peak-End Rule

The principle that people only remember the start and end of a speech.
A public speaker who starts with effective humor and ends with an effective emotional appeal.


Trying to influence by droning the same message over and over.
A public service announcement about health and safety that takes on a preachy tone that would usually be ineffective except that the message reaches the average person dozens of times a day such that it does have some effect.

Political Capital

Political capital is the idea that influence can be built up to be used when you need it.
A neighbor who is friends with everyone and who helps others on a regular basis who suddenly shows up at your door asking if you will care for their pet because they must visit a sick relative.


This is the complete list of articles we have written about influencing.
Ambiguity Effect
Active Silence
Anecdotal Evidence
Agree To Disagree
Building Trust
Call To Action
Anticipating Objections
Creative Tension
Charismatic Authority
Cruel Wit
Charm Offensive
Cultural Capital
Choice Architecture
Devils Advocate
Dry Humor
Consensus Building
Expectation Setting
Constructive Criticism
Eye Contact
Heliotropic Effect
Loaded Language
Loaded Question
Door In The Face
Peak-End Rule
Plain Language
Ethos Pathos & Logos
Rhetorical Device
Social Influence
Social Perception
False Dilemma
Social Proof
Foot In The Door
Informal Authority
Weasel Words
Information Cascade
Inside Jokes
Intrinsic Reward
Logical Argument
Managing Up
Name Dropping
Paradox Of Choice
Political Capital
Red Herring
Rhetorical Question
Rule Of Three
Self Monitoring
Small Talk
Social Tension
Straw Man
Touching Base
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A few common types of analogy.


A conversation or set of statements designed to persuade someone of an idea.

Building Trust

A list of character traits and talents that build trust.

Choice Architecture

An overview of choice architecture.

Commitment Management

The process of managing commitments to goals, projects and action items.


The definition of criticism with examples.


An overview of influence with examples.


An overview of persuasion with examples.


A definition of principles with business examples.


A list of propaganda techniques.

Influencing Techniques

A few basic influencing strategies.

Negotiation Process

An overview of the negotiation process with examples.

Effective Communication

An overview of effective communication with examples.

Political Behavior

An overview of political behavior with examples.

Workplace Communication

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A few definitions of media.

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An overview of professional relationships with examples.

Communication Problem

A list of communication problems.

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Persuasive Appeals

A list of the basic types of persuasive appeal.

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An overview of communication quality with examples.


A list of communication techniques.

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An overview of media communication with examples.

Media Careers

A list of common media careers.


An overview of written justifications with examples.

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An overview of group communication with examples.

Communications Management

An overview of communications management.

Forms Of Communication

A list of the basic forms of communication with examples of each.

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Public Stakeholders

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