A Few Entertaining And Enlightening Alternatives To TED Talks

work career videos and talks

TED, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading information in the form of short and powerful talks, has hosted conferences since 1984, with talks that cover everything from science to business to important global issues.

Thanks to the information age and social media, TED Talks have soared in popularity and some “talks” have gone viral on the web.

But as great as these TED Talks can be, due to their increasing popularity and ubiquity, they have started to become too similar to each other. And not all of them are as enjoyable.

So if you’d like to enjoy discussions that are smart, engaging, and compelling, here are some alternatives to TED Talks.


PechaKucha

PechaKucha was founded by a pair of architects from Japan who wanted presentations that were concise, simple and inspiring.

It started as an open event in Tokyo for young designers to meet, network, and share ideas, but it has since expanded to over 900 cities.

Here, the presenters only have a short amount of time to speak, charging them with the difficult task of delivering a message that is both concise and impactful in the limited amount of time that they have, which has some powerful and amazing results.


Big Think

Big Think has talks and videos that are enlightening and entertaining.

Featuring presenters like Bill Nye, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Mary Aiken, and Glenn Cohen, Big Think provides talks on a variety of scientific, social, psychological, and intellectual topics with a big focus on technology.


Talks at Google

Google regularly hosts talks on a variety of topics on its corporate campus, for both employees and guests.

Sometimes the talks are inspirational and informative, and other times the talks are simply working sessions on how to do a better job in the workplace, or how to use a specific kind of tool.

Either way, the talks can be quite interesting and are definitely worth checking out.


PopTech

PopTech is a global community of experts, entrepreneurs, and “thought leaders” with the goal of sharing information beyond the lines of industry.

It wants to help spur innovation by bringing people with different backgrounds together to share ideas and inspire one another.

Getting people to talk about big ideas is always a great thing, and PopTech has these talks in droves. Talks cover a variety of topics in science, medicine, public policy and education.


IdeaCity

The Canadian version of TED, IdeaCity is more informal, and is inspirational and open. It is also broader in terms of topics and ideas that are presented.

IdeaCity is a three-day conference that is a parade of visionary entrepreneurs, leaders, scientists, journalists, social activists and more. Each talk will leave you more intelligent and more enlightened than you were before.


Ignite

Ignite allows presenters only 20 slides and five minutes of talk, forcing them to condense a big idea into a bite-sized chunk.

Talks must be fun, quick, engaging and memorable in only a couple of minutes, and the results are some really enlightening, entertaining and impressive talks that you won’t see anywhere else.


99U

99U hosts a variety of talks on topics that range from creativity to careers.

They are full of vibrant speakers, including individuals you might not have heard from in traditional conferences (meaning the voices and ideas are fresh and new), and perspectives that are both interesting and insightful.


The Moth

The Moth is less about lectures and more about personal stories that you can learn from, empathize with and rally behind.

The site and its series of talks range from a variety of topics like peace, faith and the worst surprise party ever.

Here, there are few high-minded concepts and no techies peddling stories of controversy or disruption. Instead, real people are telling real stories that we can all relate to in a genuine and understandable way.

 

When Not To Venture Outside Your Comfort Zone

comfort zone success work

Going outside your comfort zone is a part of learning and growing, whether you’re advancing in your job or career, or achieving personal or professional goals.

Stretching your boundaries is important, but is it always necessary in order to be successful? According to Andy Molinsky, Professor at the Brandeis International Business School, the answer is a big NO.

However, in order to figure out whether staying in your comfort zone is sensible or just rationalization, you need to ask yourself a series of questions.


Have you prepared well enough?

Whether you’re giving a keynote address or speaking up in a meeting, the last thing you want to do is fumble over your words.

If you’re stepping out of your comfort zone, you must be prepared in order to have a good chance at success. Of course, you can never fully prepare for something you’ve not done before, but you definitely don’t want to wing it.

You should ask yourself questions like:

  • Have you studied how to be successful in this situation?
  • Have you learned and watched from others?
  • Have you practiced in less-consequential versions of the situation?

Learning to act outside your comfort zone is a skill. So if you find you’re unprepared, it’s best to wait until you face a situation when you’re ready.


Is the situation in question something you actually care about?

So, maybe giving public speeches isn’t an important part of your job. That’s fine.

There are many situations in life that are outside your comfort levels that are unimportant. Not everyone is destined to stretch themselves in every way possible and aren’t even interested in trying, and that’s okay.

However, it’s important to think about and be sure that having no interest isn’t simply an excuse for not wanting to try something new.


Is this the right time?

Sometimes wanting to learn the skill or do the behavior just isn’t enough; it has to be the right time.

For instance, you may want to enhance your pitching and promoting skills, but you simply can’t devote enough time to that single task. You have to consider your current responsibilities and position before you prepare to branch out.


It can be difficult to leave your comfort zone, and for good reason; that’s where you’re secure, and it feels natural. If you’re not ready to go outside your comfort zone, you will always get another chance in the future.

Perhaps it’s best to wait for the right time so you’re fully prepared for the next opportunity to shine.

For more ideas and details on this topic, keep a lookout for Andy’s upcoming book – Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge , and Build Confidence.

Be Careful When Exposing Unethical Behavior At Work

whistleblower unethical behaviour workplace

In “The Informant,” Matt Damon plays Mark Whitacre, a man who was made famous by being one of the most high-profile whistleblowers in corporate America. For three years, Whitacre worked with the Feds to bring down his company, Archer Daniels Midland, for a price-fixing scheme. If it weren’t for the fact that Whitacre was also embezzling funds, he would have come out of the whole thing a well-renowned hero.

Unfortunately, even though the events of the film are based on real life, the reality is that most whistleblowers are not seen in a positive light. Take, for example, Edward Snowden. Many people believe he is a traitor, while others see him as a patriot standing up for people’s rights. In the business world, whistleblowing, for things such as exposing unethical behavior, often doesn’t work out well for the whistle-blower. That is, unless, you are in a position of authority.

According to David Mayer, who is the Associate Professor of Management and Organizations at U-M’s Ross School of Business, the concept of whistleblowing is much more nuanced than we think. “Even though we often hear negative things about business leaders in the media, we still have positive expectations of them,” Mayer said.

Mayer goes on to clarify that part of those expectations is speaking out against unethical conduct. Thus, it seems, part of the reason why Whitacre was hailed (relatively speaking) and Snowden was booed was the fact that Whitacre was a top boss at ADM, while Snowden was only a regular worker at the NSA. To put it in perspective, Whitacre is now the COO of a multi-million dollar business, and Snowden is still on the lam from the feds in Russia (there are other factors at play for the outcome, but you get what I mean).

There is even science to back up this claim. A report from the Journal of Applied Psychology shows this effect in a controlled setting. Mayer and his colleagues gathered people together and exposed them to cheating and other unethical behavior and monitored the results. To test their hypothesis, the team placed some of the individuals in leadership positions.

The results were pretty cut and dry. The team monitored everyone’s reactions when someone spoke up about the cheating, and how they viewed that person depended mostly on their position within the group. Those who spoke up and were not leaders were viewed unfavorably (as hostile and unfriendly) by the group as a whole. However, when anyone with a position of authority spoke on the unethical behavior, they were regarded in a more positive light.

One interesting part of the experiment, is that the leaders did not have to have formal authority over the group to be seen more favorably. What this means is that as long as someone had any sort of leadership position, regardless of closeness or relevance to the issue, he or she was viewed positively for speaking out against cheating.

So what does all this mean?

For companies and individuals, it’s important to understand this dynamic so you can avoid the “whistleblower penalty.” As the evidence shows, if a leader calls attention to it, he or she can be praised. If it’s a regular worker, then people might see him or her in a negative light and react in a less than positive way. The more we understand this phenomenon, the better we can be at making the workplace much more ethical overall.

How To Get People To Read Your Emails

read email better subject line

Every day you face the same dilemma of trying to figure out which emails to read and which ones to delete without a second thought. This is no small task since the average person receives over 120 emails per day. You have to draw the line somewhere to manage the sheer volume, and usually that line is drawn at the email’s subject line.

Studies done by Yesware, an email platform, found that people usually make snap decisions about subject lines. Email open rates correlate with these choices. On average, emails with good subject lines have an open rate of 51.9 percent, and the average response rate is 29.8 percent.

This means you should take into account some key strategies for creating highly readable email subject lines.


Count on Numbers

Use numbers in your subject lines to make them stand out.

Numbers are often used in connection with hard data and statistics, which give readers fact-based information. The Yesware study discovered that adding numbers increased open rates significantly – up to 53.2 percent.

Numbers make subject lines appear more credible and useful. Therefore, they seem worth spending the time to open.


Title Case Stands Tall

Another sure-fire way to inspire higher open rates is to use title case in email subject lines. This involves capitalizing every word in the title. For instance, instead of writing “open me now,” go with “Open Me Now.”

The latter looks a lot more authoritative than the former, which helps your email win credibility.

Testing showed that title case emails were opened by 54.3 percent of recipients, over the lower case rate of 47.6 percent. Replies to title case subject lines were an impressive 32.3 percent.


Don’t Use Personal Greetings

Saying “hello” to someone in an email subject line may seem like a great idea, but it’s actually a terrible one for open rates.

This kind of friendly familiarity was once a good tactic for making recipients think emails are coming from someone they know and trust. However, overuse of this strategy has caused it to lose effectiveness.

Personal greetings significantly lower open and reply rates.


Ditch the Questions

Another popular subject line tactic is using a question to draw attention.

Questions and question marks rated poorly in the study.

This method makes recipients feel like they need to answer, do, or think about something – which most won’t bother with.


Keep It Short

Keep your subject line short and sweet. A few words is all you need. In fact the study found that just around 3 words worked best.

How To Be Successful – Richard Branson’s Top Tips For Success

how to be successful

Richard Branson lives on his own remote Caribbean island, isolated from mainstream city life.

Yet, he remains one of the world’s most admired entrepreneurs.

When asked to share his success secrets during an interview, he revealed key tips on how to be successful, which he’s used over the years to create and run 400 Virgin brand companies.


1. Be bold to a point.

In his younger days, Branson took many risks without giving much thought to the consequences.

Risk-taking has certainly paid off fabulously for him. However, looking back he realizes that there were times when risking it all meant being on the verge of losing everything he’d worked hard to achieve.

A much wiser Branson still believes strongly in taking risks, but he advises aspiring success seekers to take calculated risks. Never risk money you can’t afford to lose, food and clothing, a place to live, or your life for a shot at the unknown.


2. Become an expert of your passion.

Whatever it is you’re passionate about, learn everything you can about it to the point of becoming an expert.

Branson loves learning new things, and dives into new projects with gusto.

You are more likely to put a lot of time and effort into a project you truly enjoy, than something that quickly bores you.


3. Turn frustration into opportunity.

The issue that is nagging you to no end may prove to be the very thing that drives your success.

Many successful people have created thriving businesses after experiencing utter frustration over not having something turn out as expected.

Branson was frustrated when American Airlines bumped him off a flight to the British Virgin Islands. He was told to wait for a flight out the next day. Undaunted, Branson rented a private plane, jokingly promoted a cheap flight to the other bumped passengers, and was amazed when his plane completely filled up.

His frustration over the lousy treatment he received from a major airline led to the very first Virgin Airlines flight that same day. The rest is history.


4. Find ways to be innovative.

Look for things others miss and turn them into innovations that people love.

An example is Virgin’s popular flight safety videos, which are as entertaining as music videos put out by current artists. He tossed aside those stiff, boring pre-flight lectures in favor of Virgin’s innovative approach, which uses snappy music, actors and lively dancing.

Virgin’s safety videos are so entertaining that people enjoy watching them online.


A Simple Way To Start Projecting More Self Confidence

how to have confidence

As a politician delivers his speech, he scans the faces of his supporters in the crowd.

A presentation is being given by a college student who emphasizes her points to her classmates and professor.

Striding down the sidewalk, a young professional casually smiles to colleagues on the way home.

“What do these three people have in common?” you ask.

They’re proficient at making eye contact, and as a result, they emit confidence.

Body language expert and author of The Body Language Advantage, Lillian Glass, says that intense eye contact is the best indicator of someone’s confidence.

According to Glass, those who are confident don’t look at their feet, the ground, or the table; they’re always looking up. She explains, “Whether in conversation or just walking in the office hallway, they’re looking at other people. They’re engaging them through their eye contact.”

Making and having eye contact builds a connection, displays sincerity, and helps to produce a sense of trust, linking people.

A study administered at the University of Leuven in Belgium resolved that individuals with greater self-esteem are more likely to keep eye contact than their less confident peers, whose low self-esteem was linked with darting looks. Researchers at King’s College also discovered that we connect higher levels of eye contact with stronger leadership skills, greater aggression and power, and higher intelligence.

However, for many, looking another in the eye — and holding that gaze — can be tough.

If this is something you have a hard time with, try staring at the other person’s eyes for a few seconds, looking at their nose for a few seconds, looking at their mouth for a few seconds, and then staring at their face as a whole for a few seconds.

Continue this rotation during your discussion.

Glass explains that if you use this method, the other person won’t be able to know that you’re not looking straight at their eyes the whole time.

Make a habit of practicing eye contact in your day-to-day life, whether it be on the subway on your way to work, walking outside on your lunch break, and in conversations at the office and with colleagues. You’ll be shocked by how much the perception of your confidence levels increases, once you get better at locking eyes.

Stop Making Excuses That Hold You Back

stop making excuses

Excuses.

We hear them constantly.

Whether it’s, “Now is not the right time,” “There’s nothing I can do,”  “I got stuck in traffic,” or “I had to work late,” our lives can sometimes seem to be a constant web of excuses.

We’re all aware of excuses that we hear, but what about our own excuses?  You know, the ones we use to rationalize the truth, explain a mistake, or handle a work/life situation?

According to Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David in her book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, “Making excuses is normal.”

David explains how “it’s important that we have narratives that help us make sense of our lives and worlds.”  However, she cautions against allowing excuses to become so prominent that they hold you back, and compromise your hearts and values.


When Excuses Overwhelm Reality

Being aware of your excuse-making helps determine whether it’s the thinker or the thought in charge.

If the thinker is in charge, then you’ve retained control over the excuse.  When the thought takes charge, then you’re not making personal progress.

How does one discern the difference between the thinker and the thought?  Here are two important signals:

  • You’ve heard it all before. The excuse is becoming a familiar pattern, and it’s skewing your objectivity when dealing with a situation.
  • An excuse allows you to put aside negative emotions. Instead of confronting a problem or situation, the excuse pushes the discomfort away. The discomfort or emotion is gone but there’s no personal growth and less value.

When you spot these warning signs you know that you thoughts are in charge. For such situations David details some tips to get back in the driver’s seat.

  • Look to your values for balance. It’s easy to diffuse or delay a difficult situation with an excuse. For instance, an you might suddenly become “too busy” when faced with giving negative feedback to an employee.  By turning to a mental rationalization, you are allowing the fear of confrontation to take precedence over your values. Instead, think abut your values and whether you think it is fair to the individual if you don’t give them proper feedback and delay the situation.
  • Think about your long term growth. Are you retarding your personal growth by relying on an excuse? If you catch yourself making an excuse instead of working out a problem, are you really moving toward becoming the person you want to be in the long run?
  • Try changing your perspective. We all develop patterns of thought. Those patterns become so ingrained that they are reflexive.  David calls this “self-verification.”  The safety of familiar thought patterns can be difficult to notice because our brains interpret the familiarity as “safe and normal.” The most important change that can be made is by looking at a situation from a different perspective.  She suggests that by, “imagining that you are giving advice to someone else,” you can change your perspective of a situation.  The simple truth is, it’s easier for us to give advice to others, we just need to listen to the advice we would offer to another, and then apply it to our situation.

Scientific Ways To Be More Likeable At Work

how to be more likeable at work

As hard as you might try, being likeable isn’t always easy.

But improving how much people like you and enjoy interacting with you, can have many benefits for your career prospects and relationships.

So here are a few science-backed suggestions to help improve your interactions with others:

  • Let the other person talk about themselves – We all derive pleasure from talking about ourselves. In fact, the pleasurable feeling we gain is strong enough to act as a mood enhancer.
  • Draw on their knowledge – No one likes a know-it-all. When you ask for advice, you allow the other person to be the expert. It makes them feel good and also makes you more likeable/persuasive.
  • Don’t be gloomy all the time – Sure, we all have down days. However, moods can be contagious.  If your moods are upbeat, you’ll discover that the moods of others will be more positive around you as well.
  • Be inquisitive about his/her life – Two questions can show an interest in another’s life. Ask about a positive experience they’ve recently experienced.  Once that question is answered, ask about their everyday life.  A happy topic, brought on by your inquiry, will help another to associate you with that positive feeling. It will also make the subsequent discussion more positive and enjoyable.
  • Show admiration – When you voice your appreciation for a person’s actions, they eventually begin to notice the same traits in you. The scientific term is, “Spontaneous trait transference.”
  • Let it be your fault once in a while – By showing simple human traits such as the ability to make a mistake, you become more likeable. There’s nothing wrong with being human.
  • Show an honest appreciation for others – When talking with someone, making positive comments about other people shows your ability to see the good traits in people. Appreciation always looks better than negative comments and gossip. According to Professor Richard Wiseman, if you say positive and pleasant things about people, you are seen as a nice person (and vice versa).
  • Establish a physical connection – A light/casual touch that comes about during interaction with others, shows a comfort level and familiarity that makes you more likeable.

These scientifically derived ideas are just the tip of the iceberg on the ocean of personal interaction and likeability.  What method(s) do you employ to make yourself more likeable?

We all have a habit that’s holding our career back

change habits behaviour succeed

Imagine for a moment that you are the ideal manager/employee. You are a well-liked and successful professional, with a reputation for being consistently fair-minded and hardworking. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Unfortunately, you are a human being who will make mistakes, have bad days, and who may even have a few career-limiting personal habits.

What do you do when you realize that some of your habits are holding your career back?

According to a study by VitalSmarts, you may need to reflect and make some changes, since 97 percent of employees have at least one habit that is limiting their careers.

The following are the career-crushing habits that the study found to be most prevalent, as well as some helpful hints from Joseph Grenny (Co-founder of VItalSmarts) on breaking those bad habits.


Unreliability

Reliability is a key trait hiring managers look for in employees. Those who keep their commitments without fail, allow their managers to mentally dismiss delegated tasks as already done. Managers love such employees.

However, many employees do not follow through on commitments 100% of the time. For such employees, managers continue to carry ownership of the assignments even after the person in question has committed to completing them.

Causes:

The issue of unreliability is often a problem of communication.

People who have trouble keeping promises also struggle with maintaining boundaries to avoid conflict. Instead of saying “no,” they’d rather give a “yes” now – even if it means dealing with disapproval later.

Solutions:

Learning how to say “no” is vital to improving your reliability. Here are some helpful points to ponder:

  • Eye Contact –.When you are in a situation involving someone pressuring you to take on a commitment, hit the brakes by breaking eye contact, and take a deep breath.
  • Press Pause – If you can’t weigh the pros and cons of a commitment in the moment, keep a script in your head that you can use to delay your response. For example: “I would like to help out. Let me look at what’s already on my agenda, and I’ll get back by the end of today. Does that work for you?”
  • Count, Then Speak – Lastly, think about all of the commitments that you have already made. Saying “no” is much easier when you think about all the commitments you have on your plate. Telling people “no” does not always mean that you are letting them down, but instead keeping promises you have already made.

Procrastination

Procrastination is the most seductive of all the common flaws. All our smartphones and various other modes of communication make it all too easy to do immediate, unimportant tasks, rather than the actually important ones.

Causes:

Procrastination is purely driven by fear of punishment, pain or failure. Putting off tasks that might cause some form of unpleasantness, is much easier than actually working to accomplish them.

No matter what the task at hand is, there are always unexplored and oftentimes exaggerated expectations associated with our tendency to procrastinate.

Solutions:

Start by expressing empathy and accommodation for your personal fears and concerns. Find and invest in your motivation, and explore different ways that increase your motivation. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Chunk your tasks- Breaking up an undesirable task into little parts allow you to celebrate each completed step.
  • Try the social approach – Bringing colleagues on board can alter your experience. If you have a presentation to compose, practice your delivery with a trusted co-worker. Their enthusiasm and feedback can help encourage you to finish the task. 
  • Quit early, finish later – Your feelings when you complete a task are like a tide that carries you forward into your next experience. Grinding away until you stumble over the finish line is the perfect recipe for misery. It is better to stop while you are still feeling engaged, thereby increasing your motivation to finish.

Selfishness

We all have tendency at times to be selfish, or to focus too closely on our own goals and position. Others often see that as selfishness. This does not make us jerks or unreasonable people. It simply means that we do not have a sufficient level of concern for others.

Causes:

Most likely, you are missing a lot of the nonverbal signals others send, to express their wants and needs. Where things fall apart is when you become too invested in your own goals and opinions, and ignore or neglect the opinions and goals of others.

Solutions:

The littlest things yield the greatest results.

If you find empathy challenging, watch your body language in tense or conflicting situations. People who are only concerned with their own agendas shut down physically before they close off emotionally. They turn aside, fail to maintain eye contact, or give other physical signs that they have stopped listening. Here’s how to be more empathetic and improve your listening skills:

  • Maintain eye contact – Remain in the conversation by maintaining eye contact with others. Look them directly in the eye. Watch for expressions that show emotions. Be conscious of the emotions of others is the primary step toward becoming empathetic.
  • Curiosity – Working with others is all about cooperation and mutual interest. You need to develop questions from sincere curiosity that help you understand the thoughts and motivations of others. You may find more common ground than you might expect.

In addition to the most common habits mentioned above, other career limiting habits include passive aggressiveness, negative attitude, short-term focus and disrespect.

As per managers who VitalSmarts surveyed, addressing your main bad habit is 3 times more important that improving technical skills. So clearly it is something to spend some time and effort on.

The difference between the job and life you have and the ones you want can be simply a few bad habits. When you learn to be mindful about what causes your behavior and motivates you, you will be far more effective at changing your life and your career for the better.

But changing your behavior can often be hard. So here are some tips for achieving sustainable and measurable behavior change, from Al Switzler, one of the Co-founders of VitalSmarts.

The extra ingredient needed for women to succeed

women success leadership

Women don’t have leadership roles nearly as often as men, and there are various reasons for this.

One study, by Margarita Mayo (IE Business School), Laura Guillen (ESMT) and Natalia Karelaia (INSEAD), analyzed the judgments that colleagues made regarding the competence and warmth of people working in a project team. These people were working at a multinational software development company.

As part of their performance evaluation, the workers were evaluated by their supervisor and peers on competence and warmth.

Results showed that men are seen as confident if they are seen as competent. However, women are seen as confident only if they come across as both competent and warm.

Women must be seen as warm in order to make their competency shine and to be seen as confident and influential in the workplace. Competent men are seen as confident and influential whether they are warm or not.

So basically, if men display competence, then they are also seen as being confident. And the more confident they are seen as being, the more influence they have in the organization. It seems that warmth is irrelevant when it comes to men.

For women, if there was an absence of warmth, then they were not viewed as confident. When women were seen as warm and competent, they were also seen as more confident and more influential. Women’s professional performance is not evaluated independently from their personal warmth.

Overall, this study suggests that if women are to succeed in today’s workplace, then encouraging them to have the confidence just isn’t enough. Women must also go out of their way to be seen as warm in the workplace.

6 Principles To Sharpen Your Persuasion Skills

persuasion skills

Have you ever pondered on why you buy the useless odds and ends sitting in your junk drawer?

Why did you purchase the treadmill that collects dust in the corner of your living room?

Why did you get the Instyler when you’re straightening or curling iron works just as well?

Why do you acquire the name brand cereal instead of the cheaper alternative?

Dr. Robert Cialdini (Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University) provides some answers, through the principles of persuasion, which can be very useful in the workplace and outside of it as well.

To sharpen your persuasion skills, Professor Cialdini lists six important influences to keep in mind, using the acronym C.L.A.S.S.-R.


C-Commitment and Consistency

The first letter refers to commitment and consistency in actions and behavior. The desire to remain stable is rooted in our evolutionary psychology.

Dr. Cialdini performed a study, which found that when asked to place a large billboard advertising road safety in their backyard, people were reluctant. However, when people were first asked to place a small sign on their window, many of them agreed. When these people were later asked about placing the larger billboard, 76% of them agreed.

It goes to show that when asking someone to make a large commitment, ask them first to make a small one.

You can probably think about several ways in which this principle can be advantageous in your business endeavors.

For example. instead of asking customers to make large decisions right at the start, ask them to make smaller and insignificant choices first, until it would appear inconsistent for them not to proceed with the larger decision. Most of the time, people prefer to be consistent with previous behavior.


L-Likability

Likability and attractiveness are important aspects of persuasion.

It is no coincidence that actors and actresses are often attractive people; it makes you want to see their work. The same applies to Sales Reps, who are often attractive and friendly people.

This phenomena is known as the “Halo Effect,” which refers to the idea that attractiveness and likability enhances our perception of a person’s expertise/talent.

We have less control over our looks, so Cialdini suggests a few techniques to become more likable:

  • Listening – When dealing with people, call them by their name, be interested in what they have to say, and ask questions. People love hearing their own name and voice.
  • Praise – Complimenting people is a good way to increase your likability and make that person’s day at the same time. Try to be as sincere as you can and compliment something you actually like about that person.
  • Positive Association – Positive association can be a powerful ally. Provide signals to associate yourself, or your product/service/idea, with something positive. For example, car showrooms often have well dressed and sophisticated looking people standing next to the vehicles, to associate the car with luxury and lifestyle.
  • Contrast – Compare what you have on offer, with something that is relatively less desirable.

A-Authority

Following and believing in an authority figure is a natural response.

The Principle of Authority is the driving force behind some of the greatest crimes in history. Cults exist when a charming and charismatic figure enacts laws and patterns for people to follow.

If you are knowledgeable, well trained, and have the degrees to show it, don’t be afraid to flaunt it. Such things can make you more seem more trustworthy and believable.


S-Social Proof

When people do not have enough information, they often look to others to help them make a decision.

They believe that other people are rational.

One of the best examples of this phenomena is the laugh track in sitcoms. They tell you when it is time to laugh, by providing the social proof of other people laughing.

You can use various forms of social proof to be more persuasive, such as numbers/benchmarks, testimonials and name-dropping.


S-Scarcity

Exclusivity and scarcity are very useful influences.

If diamonds or other rare gems lay on the ground for anyone to find, they would not be such a hot commodity.

Scarcity is a helpful motivator in the decision-making process: it forces a choice without leaving adequate time to deliberate further.


R-Reciprocity

People do not like being in someone’s debt.  If they receive a present or favor, they have a need to pay that action back.

Researchers have hypothesized that this evolutionary value comes from tribal societies that thrive on cooperation and reciprocity. If one member fails to do so, then they are kicked out of the tribe and less likely to survive.

An excellent example of such an idea is that of the Hare Krishnas and how they first give their congregates a small gift (like a flower) before asking for donations.

If you want people to give you something, give them something first: free samples, coupons, promotions, tips, excellent service, etc.


Here’s Cialdini, with some more information on persuasion:

Focus. Slow Down. Take Your Time

slow down at work

Do you sometimes feel like things are moving too fast, that you’re always rushing and that you’re doing too much?

This video essay gives a stirring reminder of the need to slow down. It reminds us not to rush, but to take the time to do each task before us properly, slowly and deliberately.

The illustration is made of the space shuttle being loaded with the potential energy of rocket fuel, poised to achieve escape velocity. The important thing to remember is that space is not achieved in an instant, but in the powerful slow burn of the fuel accelerating the shuttle and launch craft, from the takeoff point and away from Earth into the atmosphere.

As the video essay progresses, it goes on to emphasize how birds do not instantaneously leap into the air, but must build up momentum from a resting position in order to achieve flight. Everything that will travel a greater distance or achieve a great height must first take it slow and prepare well. Archers draw back and hold their arrow, before releasing it on its flight path. A rifleman takes half a breath and holds it when he takes a shot.

After these illustrations are given, the essay addresses the viewers possible objections: how they may feel if they can’t slow down, or how their life does not allow them to take breaks, or that if they stop to think, then everything in their life will come crashing down.

This is followed by the quiet and confident reassurance that stepping back to catch your breath and assess your situation is not only healthy, but essential. It also goes on to posit the idea that no one should deceive themselves into believing that they can do more alone than they can with the help of others. If you are struggling to achieve something, slow down and find some friends, partners, or colleagues that can help you get where you are going.

In the end, the video reiterates its original point about going slowly and steadily to achieve great things. There are flashes and images of people achieving what they set out to do, moving over to the original advice of the video:

Be like the Tortoise, not like the Hare.

Take the time, make the time, or find the time.

Without taking the time to do things slowly and well, all you are accomplishing is losing the race.