We humans are a funny bunch.
On the one hand, we seem to revel in the idea that we fiercely independent, and nobody, but NOBODY, tells us what to do.
On the other hand, we are incredibly swayed, at the unconscious level, by the opinions of others.
It’s well known to advertisers that social proof and authority are two of the biggest ways to sell something.
If we see a crowd doing something, it will be incredibly difficult to resist at least checking out what’s going on. If some recognized authority figure recommends something, likewise we’ll be keenly interested.
Understand that this happens subconsciously. When we see a crowd doing something, we don’t think to ourselves, “hey, that crowd is doing something and I’d better join them, because crowds of people are usually right!
The mere presence of this crowd creates and unconscious desire, and then we later tell ourselves some kind of “story” about why we’re interested.
If you are ever in a position to persuade somebody, you can leverage these two facets of human nature pretty easily.
Now, I’ll be honest, a lot of people think these are underhanded and manipulative, so I’ll leave it up to you whether to use them or not. But they ARE powerful.
You just assume that plenty of people are already doing what you are going to suggest, or some kind of authority figure recommends what you are going to suggest.
Let’s say you want to convince your buddy to start eating more broccoli. So you want to convince him that eating broccoli is very healthy. Now, just telling him that broccoli is healthy won’t likely work.
But leveraging social proof and authority will.
For example, you could say something like this:
“A lot of people don’t know this, but plenty of A-list movie stars eat a lot of broccoli to get in shape for a shirtless scene. They’ve found it’s really helpful in getting six pack abs.”
Or maybe this:
“Most experts in the field of longevity have found that eating broccoli at least once a week can significantly increase your life span.”
Or how about this:
“I read that one of the reasons so many people who eat broccoli are getting into fantastic shape is that it’s got some kind of hunger killing enzyme or something.”
All of these statements imply some kind of authority or social proof.
The good news is there’s plenty more sneaky patterns, which you can use to persuade pretty much anybody to do anything, and think it was their idea.