The Small Big By Steve J. Martin, Noah J Goldstein, and Robert B. Cialdini
Regardless of what business you are in, or what you hope to achieve in life, to become successful, you must be willing and able to influence others. This book provides both studies and real business examples of how small tweaks to our communication and actions can spark big influence over any unsuspecting target.
The Power Drivers
Fundamental to the book are three emotional states that are powerful drivers in our choice making. They are the motivation to:
- Make accurate decisions as efficiently as possible
- Affiliate with and gain the approval of others
- See oneself in a positive light
This book is packed with examples on how to influence different groups for the desired outcome, and below are three ideas presented which resonated most.
The Busker Experiment
A study was conducted using a busker in a New York Subway. The number of commuters who donated to the musician as they walked past was counted. Then a small tweak was made to the experiment. A person (in on the act) would drop a few coins into the hat in clear view of approaching commuters. The result was a whopping eight-fold increase in donations made by passers-by. The commuters who were later interviewed did not recognise they had been influenced by witnessing the previous donation.
If you manage a Team and need tools of influence to achieve increased productivity or creativity, the book discusses the use of “uncommon commonalities. ” It recommends focusing on features your Team has in common that are rare to other external groups, to bring people together cohesively.
Potential outshines Reality
The book provides examples of how decision-makers are often more impressed and influenced by potential than they are the actual achievement. I was encouraged to discover that potential outshines reality. For example, if you are seeking employment or hoping to win a contract, you should lead the conversation or interview by communicating your future potential, rather than with your prior experience.
Who Should Read the Book?
We all want to have influence or persuade someone to do something, whether it’s your boss, co-worker, audience member, spouse, or customer. The Big Small is worth a read if you have an interest in persuasion science or wish to change the behaviour of others effectively, efficiently, and ethically.