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What’s the difference between success and failure? More often than not, it’s the ability to persuade.

In public relations, persuasion is a vital component of everything we do.

Think about it. Building relationships, creating compelling content, managing crises and reputations, media and blogger outreach, public speaking, sharing and connecting in social media, getting our colleagues, clients and bosses to support our strategies—all use liberal doses of persuasion.

Some consider persuasion an art form. Others refer to it as a science. We all know people who seem born to influence others, for whom persuading is as natural as breathing. Then there are the rest of us who could use a little help in this area.

Enter Robert Cialdini and his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasionwhich, since its publication in 1984, has become accepted as one of the foundations of marketing strategy.

In this book, Cialdini, Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University, identified six psychological principles as integral pieces of the influencing process.

Take a look at how these now familiar “Six Principles of Influences” are being applied in public relations.

1. The Principle of Liking

If you want to influence people, win friends. How? Uncover real similarities and offer praise.

According to Cialdini, two factors stand out as especially compelling methods of winning friends: finding similarities and offering praise. Similarities draw people together. Praise disarms them.

Building relationships starts with identifying similar interests, experience or objectives. Praise breaks down barriers and shows interest and concern for the other person. We tend to like the people we feel like us and we are all susceptible to a genuine compliment or commendation. Also? Be likable. Be charming, considerate and engaging.

Use the Principle of Liking in media and blogger relations, in building online communities or working to organize event participation. Ask your social media communities open ended questions, and monitor their answers. Highlight the similarities you note and offer genuine praise, where merited.

Caution: be authentic and consistent, however, insincerity can backfire and cause real damage.