Persuasion Depends Mostly on the Audience

Some people are generally more persuasive than others. These charismatic, politically savvy, and socially skilled individuals tend to be sought-after salespeople, managers, and leaders. Thanks to their higher EQ, they’re better equipped to read people and are able to leverage this intuitive knowledge to influence others’ attitudes and behaviors. And because they seem more authentic than their peers, we tend to trust them more, to the point of outsourcing our decision-making to them. This is what most people hope to get, but not always receive, from their politicians.

Yet we may be giving these alleged superstars of persuasion more credit than they deserve. In fact, a great deal of psychological research indicates that, much like Dale Carnegie suggested, the key triggers of persuasion take place in the receiver of the message, whereas persuaders typically account for less than 10% of the effect. What, then, are the main psychological forces that explain when and why we are likely to be persuaded by others?

Read the full article which originally appeared in the Harvard Business Review.