How to Get People to Do Stuff | Susan M. Weinschenk

Summary of: How to Get People to Do Stuff: Master the art and science of persuasion and motivation
By: Susan M. Weinschenk


Discover how to unlock the power of persuasion and motivation with Susan M. Weinschenk’s book, ‘How to Get People to Do Stuff.’ This summary delves into the art and science of understanding human motivation to help you become a more effective leader and communicator. Learn about the seven drives that shape human behavior, and master strategies that engage people’s sense of belonging, foster productive habits, and assist in crafting powerful personal narratives. From Pavlovian conditioning to the desire for mastery, this summary provides valuable insights into engendering positive responses and motivating individuals to achieve their full potential.

Unleashing Human Motivation

Discover the science behind effective leadership and communication by harnessing the seven drives that motivate people. This book utilizes psychological studies to provide valuable insights that will enable deeper commitment, clearer communication, and greater engagement between employees and employers. By understanding what drives people to act, you can work together to achieve individual and organizational goals, creating a more productive and fulfilling work environment.

Strategies for Fostering a Sense of Belonging

Humans have an innate desire to interact and be a part of a group. This summary provides actionable strategies to evoke a sense of belonging in others. Building social connections, using nouns instead of verbs, mirroring body language, synchronous activities, small favors, appropriate competition, and dressing the part are all effective ways to foster a sense of belonging.

The need to belong is a primal instinct in humans, and this summary outlines ways to effectively tap into that desire. By building social connections, people are more likely to work harder on shared tasks, reflecting a concern for what others think. The simple act of changing how requests are phrased can also strengthen people’s sense of group membership, increasing the likelihood of their support. It is essential to be aware of body language and posture during interactions with others, especially when copying them subtly, as it creates emotional feedback loops that aid communication. Engaging in synchronous activity such as laughing together, celebrating, or other bonding activities similarly fosters a deeper sense of connection. Small gifts as favors may also lead to future positive responses. However, competition must be used carefully as it demotivates women. Dressing appropriately and speaking first with enthusiasm also convey group leadership, making others more likely to follow. These practical tips help evoke a sense of belonging, making it easier to build better lasting relationships with others.

The Power of Productive Habits

Developing productive habits is key to maximizing efficiency, and it can be achieved by using the “cue-routine-reward” cycle. By understanding and influencing this cycle, habits can be established and reinforced easily. To influence others’ habits, identify cues and rewards that can be used to encourage the desired behavior. Gradually break down the process and offer incentives to encourage adoption. Once a habit has been established, it should become automatic and require little to no thought. Anchoring a new habit to an old, established one is a powerful technique, and it takes about 66 days to form a new habit. When attempting to anchor a new habit, start small and look for existing behaviors that may relate to the target habit. By implementing these simple methods, productive habits can be formed, leading to increased efficiency and reduced stress.

The Power of Story Editing

The book explains that by editing your self-narrative, you can change your persona and influence others to do the same. A well-crafted story has significant persuasive power. Emotional stories are more engaging and foster empathy in listeners. To form a new behavior, anchor a persona to an existing one and gently tweak it over time. People seek consistency in their personas, so find and build on a small inconsistency to initiate a change. Public commitments increase the likelihood of follow-through, and handwritten notes help with memory consolidation. Story editing is a powerful tool to transform even the most challenging self-stories, like those associated with post-traumatic stress disorder. By seeding a new narrative, a person’s urge for self-consistency can consolidate the new story.

The Power of Conditioning

Learn how to use classical and operant conditioning to automate desired behaviors, boost motivation, and shape new actions.

In his 1890s experiments, the famous Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov discovered classical conditioning. He trained dogs to associate the sound of a ringing bell with the arrival of food, leading to automatic stimulus-response conditioning. Building on Pavlov’s work, B.F. Skinner studied operant conditioning, focusing on behavior reinforcement. He stressed that by finding a stimulus for the desired response and automating it, you could use an award-based approach to motivation.

To apply this approach, identify a stimulus for the response you need and add a new stimulus to initiate the response automatically. Suppose you want someone to state their ideas. In that case, you can ask for their input and anticipate their response by turning a fresh page on your flip-chart. If you consistently do this, you’ll automate the reaction, and your team will start generating great ideas seamlessly.

Remember some essential tips when conditioning a new behavior. Timing is everything, reward a new behavior every time it happens. Reinforce by varying the reward schedule and ratio, shake up the interval between rewards, choose the right rewards, and give them right after the behavior.

For a more long-term effect, try shaping, where you reward only the behavior that’s already in place, and encourage people to focus on their remaining tasks. Negative reinforcement, which involves removing something unpleasant or unwanted, is also a powerful tool for motivation.

In conclusion, by using operant and classical conditioning, you can create powerful and lasting behavior change. Rewarding desired behaviors, shaping new ones, and providing regular incentives are all useful tools to build new habits successfully. Use these lessons to motivate your team and achieve your goals.

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