Yes by Dr. Robert Cialdini - Camp Leader's MBA

Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin and Robert Cialdini


[Welcome to the third in my series called the Camp Leader’s MBA. It is a winter-long curriculum for summer camp people to educate themselves on business and marketing. Read along with me and be ready to graduate by the start of camp 2011!]

Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive is a great book for Camp Directors because it can help you out in a few different areas of your camp life.  Marketing is a natural area but so is something like getting buy-in from staff on a big change at camp.  On the Summer Camp Professionals group on Facebook we have been offering ideas to a director who is moving to a new camp this summer and who is looking for ideas for implementing change.   I think this book (along with Switch, the book discussed in last month's OCA Newsletter) offers some great practical choices for making improvements at your camp.

Dr. Cialdini often talks about his Six Principles of Persuasion and there are great example through out this book:

  1. Reciprocation
  2. Social Proof
  3. Commitment and Consistency
  4. Liking
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity

I really like the format of this book.  It is very simple to read and you can get something great every time you pick it up.   Each of the 50 Ways is it's own chapter with a real-world example of persuasion being used in a psychological/anthropological study.

A few of the many camp ideas that I got from reading this book:

  • When trying to change a behaviour at camp focus on those who are doing it right (positive Social Proof). For example: 75% of our families send in their Health Forms before May 1st.
  • If a child is struggling or losing confidence in her ability to complete a challenge at camp you can help her push through to the end by not just saying "you can do it!", but by reminding her how hardworking and creative she is.  Give her some examples from the past.
  • Improve the commitment of a flakey staff member by making them write things down.   For example, if you need them to drop by your office at a certain time you could say "Come see me at 3:00" in a busy dining hall (little change he'll remember), give him a note at the same time (better chance that he'll remember but what if he loses the paper during cabin clean up?), or, best yet, say "Can you write this down?  Come see Travis at the office 3:00 this afternoon".  The physical act of writing it out for himself will provide the best possible chance that that counsellor will be rat-a-tat-tating your door at 3 bells.


Who do you need to persuade?