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Kellerman and Cole's 64 Compliance-gaining Strategies


Techniques General persuasion > Kellerman and Cole's 64 Compliance-gaining Strategies

Description | Example | Discussion | See also


Over the years there have been a number of attempts to list the various different methods of persuading people, an early influence being Marwell and Schmitt's, compliance-gaining strategies and perhaps most influentially Cialdini's six principles. These lists have tended to use two or three overall approaches. The first is to attempt a full list, including subtle differences between methods. Kathy Kellerman and Tim Cole's list is just such an attempt. The second approach, typified by Cialdini, is to reduce to as short a list as possible. In between, a balance may be sought, allowing more items but trying not to create an over-long list.

Kellerman and Cole identified over 820 persuasive strategies in the academic literature and reduced these to a still-long list of 64 strategies. Here's a discussion of each:

  1. Actor Takes Responsibility: Offer help.
  2. Negative Altercasting: Frame refusal as being like bad person.
  3. Positive Altercasting: Frame agreement as being like good person.
  4. Altruism: Appeal to their better nature.
  5. Assertion: Firm statement.
  6. Audience-Use: Ask them in front of other people.
  7. Authority Appeal: Use your formal position.
  8. Aversive Stimulation: Cause them discomfort until they give in.
  9. Bargaining: Negotiate the best deal by exchanging value.
  10. Benefit for Others: Say that it's for worthy others, not you.
  11. Benefit for Me: Say what you get from them complying.
  12. Benefit for You: Show what they will get from agreeing with you.
  13. Challenge: Challenge them to achieve greatness.
  14. Compliment: Say something nice about them before you ask for their help.
  15. Compromise: Give in order to get.
  16. Cooperation: Working together to expand the pie.
  17. Criticize: Attack the person.
  18. Debasement: Plead with them.
  19. Debt: Remind them of what they owe you.
  20. Deceit: Use trickery to get what you want.
  21. Direct Request: Just ask.
  22. Disclaimer About Norms/Rules: Say it is worth breaking rules.
  23. Disclaimer About Other People: Say nobody else can do it.
  24. Disclaimer About Self: Downplay your reasons for asking.
  25. Disclaimer About Target: Be sympathetic, then ask.
  26. Disclaimer About Task: Make the works required seem minor.
  27. Disclaimer About Time: Don't let them say they are busy.
  28. Duty: Say they have the duty to comply.
  29. Equity: Tell them to be fair and equal.
  30. Negative Esteem from Others: Show how others will think less of them.
  31. Positive Esteem from Others: Show how others will think more of them.
  32. Negative Esteem From Actor: Threaten to disapprove of them.
  33. Positive Esteem From Actor: Offer to approve of them.
  34. Negative Expertise: Use your worldly expertise to warn of dangers.
  35. Positive Expertise: Use your worldly expertise to tell them what to do.
  36. Hinting: Nudge them in the right direction.
  37. I Want...: Just say what you want.
  38. Invoke Norm: Use social rules as a lever.
  39. It's Up to You: Say they have a choice.
  40. Logical Empirical: Use facts and evidence.
  41. Moral Appeal: Appeal to their personal values.
  42. My Concern For You: Show you care about them.
  43. Nature of the Situation: Use or address elements of the context.
  44. Negative Affect: Be unpleasant until they comply.
  45. Not Seek Compliance: Act without asking.
  46. Persistence: Do not give up.
  47. Personal Expertize: Show you are expert.
  48. Positive Affect: Be positive and charming.
  49. Pre-giving: Give in order to receive.
  50. Promise: Promise them something in return.
  51. Promote Task: Show what you suggest is worthwhile.
  52. Negative Self-Feeling: Make them feel bad about not complying.
  53. Positive Self-Feeling: Make them feel good about complying.
  54. Suggest: Make a suggestion rather than command.
  55. Surveillance: Tell them you will be watching.
  56. Third Party: Get someone else to ask them.
  57. This Is the Way Things Are: Refer to inviolable rules.
  58. Thought Manipulation: Make them think they agreed.
  59. Threat: Promise punishment if they do not obey.
  60. Value Appeal: Appeal to their values.
  61. Warning: Point out risks.
  62. Welfare of Others: Note how their actions will harm others.
  63. Why Not?: Ask them to justify objections.
  64. Your Concern for Me: Link their concern to what you want.

Also, here they are, collected by persuasion type:

More to come...

See also

Marwell and Schmitt's Compliance-gaining Strategies, Cialdini's Six Principles of Influence


Kellermann, K. and Cole, T. (1994). Classifying compliance gaining messages: Taxonomic disorder and strategic confusion. Communication Theory, 1, 3-60


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