Generally, to influence means to affect a person’s behavior or actions. This can be achieved through various ways. People can be influenced physically, mentally and emotionally. There are three main approaches on how people can be influenced by others: encouragement, discouragement and negativity, deception and hypnosis.
Ways of Influencing People
Encouragement, Discouragement and Negativity
Motivational speakers, peers and other people normally have a strong influence on the actions of other individuals. Parents and siblings shape the behavior of their children and brothers and sisters respectively. In many cases, people usually attempt to follow the paths of the individuals who are their mentors. Additionally, people are influenced by their environment and the mass media. The media is a mirror image of society. Hence, people copy what they see or hear on television and in other forms of mass media. The actions of other people can also discourage other individuals. Therefore, discouragement and negativity are forms of influence. Discouragement and negativity are ways through which people, especially children, can be influenced (Lawrence, 2011). Wrong ideas and words normally have a profound impact on children. A negative idea can easily be planted in the mind of a child who then can be easily influenced.
Deception or lying is another method of influence on people. In this method, the wrong information is passed to the person. Normally,it is presented to another person as the truth. Deception is a method used to influence the actions, decisions and behavior of other people by corrupt individuals. It is used to commit crimes by corrupt leaders, cashiers, teachers and lawyers. Furthermore, this method can be used to achieve a selfish interest. Many people lie to shield their careers, achieve financial gains or protect their loved ones. For example, parents often lie to protect their children from worries (Katz, Lazarsfeld & Roper, 2006).
Hypnosis is another way of influence on people. Hypnosis refers to a state in which one is not in control of his or her mental faculties. Hypnosis is a method that has been used over the years to induce the activities or decisions of people. Teachers have used hypnosis to encourage students to study, while parents have used it to influence the behavior of their children. Notably, hypnosis is a harmless method that can be used to influence other people (Lawrence, 2011). It involves control of an individual’s ego in a special way that makes the person relax completely. The person then loses control of his judgment. On the other hand, he submits to the messages passed by the hypnotist. This explains why a lot of adverts use images of beautiful women. The pictures control the minds of consumers (Sheldrake, 2011).
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Laws of How People are Influenced
The law of authority is the first one that explains how people are influenced. People normally pay close attention to individuals who hold high positions in society. Additionally, people who are considered experts and are powerful are respected. Security personnel like policemen and politicians are also respected by other members of society. These people can control the actions and decisions of the members of any society (Katz, Lazarsfeld & Roper, 2006). Therefore, they can influence other people easily. This is because they can effortlessly encourage, discourage, manipulate and deceive other people. Experts, for example, can easily influence a customer’s decision even if the buyer has previously decided not to buy a given product.
The second rule is the law of proof. People normally want to get involved in certain activities once they see or hear the existence of proof (Fiske, Gilbert, Lindzey & Jongsma, 2010). When a person sees his friend purchase an item, he is likely to feel compelled to buy the same product. For example, many people bought the Apple iPhone because their friends bought the gadget. They saw the features of the phone and became convinced that it was a good product that had the capacity to perform optimally. Thus, the proof that a phone is a good gadget influenced their purchase decisions. Additionally, the law of proof also explains the choice of friends that an individual is likely to have. As a rule, it is likely that an individual’s friends have similar interests or backgrounds. The reason of this is that people normally like to communicate with other individuals who like them (Carnegie, 2010).
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Finally, the third rule that explains how people are influenced is the law of consistency. Humans prefer to be consistent in their decisions and actions. The need for consistency is usually appreciated by society. In addition, consistency in actions and behavior is a reasonable approach to life (Cialdini, 1993). Once a person has made a commitment to a given position, other people are likely to trust him or her. Consequently, such a person can easily influence the actions and decisions of the people who trust him or her. This law explains why some people who are in politics or who are in charge of public offices are firm in their decisions. It also explains why some people never change careers.
To sum up, one can say that there are various ways through which people can be influenced. The goal of this paper was to discuss some of these ways. Consequently, it determined encouragement, discouragement and negativity, deception and hypnosis as some of the methods through which people are influenced. Additionally, it analyzed some of the laws that explain how people are influenced, such as the laws of authority, proof and consistency.
- Carnegie, D. (2010). How to Win Friends and Influence People. New York: Pocket Books.
- Cialdini, R. (1993). Influence.
- Fiske, T., Gilbert, T., Lindzey, G., & Jongsma, E. (2010). Handbook of social psychology. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
- Katz, E., Lazarsfeld, F., & Roper, E. (2006). Personal Influence: The part played by people in the flow of mass communications. New Jersey: Transaction.
- Lawrence, W. (2011). How people are influenced mentally and emotionally for mind control and manipulation.
- Sheldrake, P. (2011). The business of influence: Reframing Marketing and Public Relations for the digital age. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.