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Battle of the Gurus discussion


I need at least 150-word comment on my classmate’s discussion

Battle of the Gurus                     

Joseph posted 

Who do you think is more persuasive given what you’ve read about persuasion for this module—Pfeffer or Cialdini?

After watching several videos, I connect more with Robert Cialdini.  From the first video I was able to take away a valuable point.  I believe it was because of his use of study results to motivate the audience to accept his “facts” and subsequently accept his program for learning to be more persuasive.

In what ways do you think these gurus are similar or different?

They are both teaching about a subject they are passionate about and it does come through in their presentations.  Both are knowledgeable on the facts and scientific or study data that supports their methods.  They have written several books on the subject which leads one to believe that a business entity, the publishing company, thought enough about each of their credibility and expertise in this subject to invest in publishing their work.

The both talk about the principles that will make a persuasive message, reciprocity, scarcity, authority, commitment and consistency, consensus, and liking (McLean, 2012) but they have a very different approach to how to make these principles most effective.

Pfeffer talks more about techniques.  He is more of an academic.  He talks about learning techniques that will use one of the five principles to convince the receiver to act.  His being a college professor is reflected in how he presents information.  He lectures. He educates on power and influence.  His video presentations are more speeches than engaging talks.

Cialdini speaks more on the science of power and influence.  He is more of a motivational speaker whose area of expertise is the use of power and influence.  His use of statistics and studies or surveys reinforces his points. He looks at what influences a person to feel one of the five principles and how the presenter needs to make sure the right clues are influencing the audience. “What do you put into your message that makes people say yes.” (Cialdini, 2017) He is more emotional and taps into the emotional side of influence. 

One contrast that struck me and sums up the differences is the example in how at the beginning of one presentation to the Center of Women in Law, Dr. Pfeffer stated they should remove the word women from their title. (Pfeffer, 2014) While his intention was to point out that they should look at the greater influence they make on the world and how calling attention to the separation lessened their message, by starting a presentation telling the group they were in effect wrong and he knew better to me was off putting and border line insulting. 

On the other hand, when Dr. Cialdini was asked/told by one of the audience members that his theory and example would not work worldwide he engaged the speaker and walked them through their argument until they were in agreement that it might work under “xyz” conditions. (Cialdini, 2017) He did not come across as someone saying “I’m the expert, you must listen to me”.  He approach was “let’s look at this and maybe you are right but could this also be right like this”.  He persuaded the audience member to his side of the discussion.


Cialdini, R. (2017). The Science of Influence.

McLean, S. (2012). Chapter 14: Presentations to persuade. Communication for Business Success.

Pfeffer, J. (2014). Power: How to Get It, Use It and Keep It.

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