HR Management & Compliance

Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive

Employment law attorney Michael Maslanka reviews the book Yes!  50 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini. Review includes lessons from the book about how to be persuasive.
Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive a so-so title for Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini’s first-rate book. Each chapter is limited to four to five pages and each gives the latest in what cognitive theory is teaching us about how to be persuasive. The book is rich, just like chocolate cake. Here are some lessons the authors include:

Learn about social proof. We do what others do, and our actions gravitate toward the majority. The book gives the example of people were taking wood from the Petrified Forest. The Park Service tried to stop the practice by telling visitors that many of them were doing this and it should stop all the forest would be gone. What happened? More people took more pieces. After all, everyone else was doing it. So the Park Service put up a sign saying that a few were ruining it for the many. Visitors stop taking so many souvenirs and the park is preserved.

Use the power of reciprocity. Look for others to whom you can do a favor or lend a hand. Doing so will make then feel indebted and, in turn, to make sure they do something in return to make sure there is balance in the relationship.

Use a fear-based message to describe danger? It will work but only if you provide concrete suggestions on how to manage or get rid of the danger. Otherwise, people will go into denial. Want to have A+ training? Use scenarios of what goes wrong and how it could have been avoided as opposed to what goes right and derving “best practices” from it. Our brains are wired to be more receptive to the first then the second.

Sit down with this book. Got out your highlighter. Trust me, you’ll be going back to get inspired, again and again.

Michael Maslanka is the managing partner of Ford & Harrison LLP’s Dallas, Texas, office. He has 20 years of experience in litigation and trial of employment law cases and has served as Adjunct Counsel to a Fortune 10 company where he provided multi-state counseling on employment matters. He has also served as a Field Attorney for the National Labor Relations Board.

Mike is listed in The Best Lawyers in America and was selected as a “Texas Super Lawyer” by Texas Monthly and Law & Politics Magazine in 2003. He was also selected as one of the best lawyers in Dallas by “D” Magazine in 2003. Mike has served as the Chief Author and Editor of the Texas Employment Law Letter since 1990. He also authors the “Work Matters” column for Texas Lawyer. He can be reached at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *