Persuasion is often a function of invisible influence. So how are people influenced by the actions, or non-actions, of others? To gain some insights, this chapter looks inside the invisible influences of persuasion. Linked to influence is the concept of likability. If likability increases, then this can lead to increased trust. Greater trust, in turn, can foster greater cooperation among individuals and groups.
Often, influence exists in subtle or subliminal form since such influence is often unseen and unconscious. Although intangible, such influence can be pervasive, if not omnipresent. Thus, having a greater awareness of such invisible influencers is the first strategic step in persuasion and influence. As this chapter shows, likability is often correlated with contextual factors – in contrast to rational choice theory, in which behavioral factors should play little or no role. Behavioral invisible influencers also include word choice, displaying of vulnerability, physical touching, mirroring, sharing of secrets, smiling, and having a sense of humor.