Today’s blog post is from: Yes!  50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
By Goldstein, Martin, and Cialdini
 Small little changes to your message can have drastic improvements in results.
Persuasion is science, not art.  And Cialdini is the master of studying and teaching that. 

How can a Simple Question drastically
Increase Support for you and your Ideas?

A truly astute political candidate will ask voters to predict whether they will vote on election day and provide reason for prediction.  This yielded a turnout 25% higher than the ones who didn’t.

There are  2 steps involved:

1) when asked to participate in a socially desirable event, they feel compelled to say yes because it’s the socially desirable thing to say.

2) then they will be motivated to act in accordance with that.

A restaurant changed from saying “call if you have to cancel” to “will you please call if you have to cancel?”  More people did because they agreed to it.  Dropped from 30% to 10%.

In another case study, canvassers would call and ask, “do you plan to vote?”  Then, “great, I will mark you down for a yes and let the others know as well.”   Their commitment becomes Voluntary, Active, and Publicly declared as well.

Example: you manage a team of people who do a project that requires action from the members.  Ask someone if they would support such an initiative.  Ask them to describe why.  Then try to get their cooperation.

When you get the other person to state their intention, you are evoking the power of Consistency.

This principle is about our “…desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision.”

Some examples:

  • Maintaining your religious affiliation, even though there isn’t a shred of evidence that confirms what you believe is in any way true.
  • You stay married, even though divorce may be the best option, because you’ve made a public commitment “til death do us part”.
  • You’ve made it public knowledge that you believe President Obama was born in Kenya and continue to bring up the issue, even though there is substantial evidence indicating he was in fact born in Hawaii.
  • You tell everyone you’re running your 1st marathon in 3 months. The public announcement, or what I call “forced accountability,” will motivate you to be more consistent in your training so you hit your goal.