Thursday, July 21, 2011

Influence: The Power of Persuasion

Posted by OurTech Team | Thursday, July 21, 2011 | Category: , , |

The epigraph sums up this entire chapter. You might be wondering why I didn’t include this within
Chapter 5’s discussion of psychological principles of social engineering. Psychology is a science and a set
of rules exists in it that, if followed, will yield a result. Social engineering psychology is scientific and
Influence and persuasion are much like art that is backed up by science. Persuasion and influence
involve emotions and beliefs. As discussed in some of the earlier chapters, you have to know how and
what people are thinking.
Influence and the art of persuasion is the process of getting someone else to want to do, react, think,
or believe in the way you want them to.
If you need to, reread the preceding sentence. It is probably one of the most powerful sentences in
this whole book. It means that using the principles discussed herein, you will be able to move someone to
think, act, and maybe even believe the way you want him to because he wants to. Social engineers use
the art of persuasion every day and, unfortunately, malicious scammers and social engineers use it, too.
Some people have devoted their life to researching, studying, and perfecting the art of influence.
Those such as Dr. Ellen Langer, Robert Cialdini, and Kevin Hogan have contributed a very large
repository of knowledge in this field. Mix this knowledge with the research and teachings of NLP
(neurolinguistic programming) masters such as Bandler, Grinder, and more recently Jamie Smart, and
what you have is a recipe to become a true artist.
True influence is elegant and smooth and most of the time undetectable to those being influenced.
When you learn the methods you will start to notice them in commercials, on billboards, and when used
by salespeople. You will start to get irritated at the shoddy attempts of marketing people and if you are
like me, you will begin to rant and rave at terrible commercials and billboards while driving (which does
not make my wife very happy).
Before getting into how social engineers will use in influence and persuasion, the chapter begins with a
short tour of some of the key elements of persuasion and influence that I have compiled and used. This
chapter will discuss things like reciprocation, manipulation, and the power of setting goals, just to name a
few of these key elements.
Influence and persuasion can be broken down into five important aspects, as discussed in the
following sections.

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