One of the skills that I want to learn in the upcoming year is the ability to influence. Whenever you want someone to do something, including yourself, tools of influence can comes in handy. On the other side of the spectrum, influence could also be used against us in a manipulative manner.
A great book I would highly recommend to improve your influencing skills, or guarding yourself from being influence against your will is Influence: The psychology of persuasion, by Robert B. Caldini. In that book, Caldini explained the 6 powerful tool of influences:
Commitment and Consistency
Social Proof
These techniques are subtly used in Marketers, Sales, Advertisers, and in my experience, Con Artist. Two years ago I was exploring London alone after a Business Trip in Manchester. After a morning stroll to visit Buckingham Palace, I found myself taking photos of an interesting war memorial in the middle of the city. I was asked by someone who seems like another tourist from Italy who wanted a picture with his country name. I followed him over to the where the word “Italy” is and took over his phone getting ready to take a photo of him and the sign. At that moment, two tall guys rushed into us claiming that they’re the policemen and ask us to show our passports. The Italian traveller looked scared and show the two policemen his passport. They soon asked him for his wallet. I was curious why he handed his wallet over so easily, and worried that this might’ve seemed like a drug trafficking case. The first policeman took his wallet opens it and he took a sniff. He then soon turned to me and ask for my wallet after I showed him my legitimate passport. I was afraid, and I almost handed my wallet over while thoughts and fear are running through my head. I eventually said no, and asked if we can go to the police station if we want to do this. I’m glad I did say that, they seemed like they didn’t want to bother, left us there at the wall and walked away. By the time I turned back around, the Italian tourist was long gone.
The trick almost worked. Reflecting back, they were using 3/6 of the influence tools. 
Social Proof – Italian guy handed his wallet over, maybe I should do to.
Commitment and Consistency – I already shown the passport, next up is the wallet.
Authority – They’re polices, you’re a foreigner.
Equip yourself with how we’re susceptible to the weapons of influence, know the reliable cue to when we should say no instead of an automatic and easy yes.

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