December 6, 2009


I am re-reading the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive this weekend. I have never been the type to read a good book only once. I find that I am able to glean new insights each time.

This particular book is quite good.  It illustrates how small changes can make a big difference. Subtle changes that could help each of us, in a world where it is important to have the support of others to do what it is that we are committed to doing.

Chapter 16 packs a punch. The authors speak about the significant additional commitment we feel when we respond to a request with 'yes'. A small shift in how a question is posed, a large shift in commitment. We are far more likely to do what we say we will do.  As an example, if we are asked "Will you attend on Saturday?" and respond "Yes", than if we are asked "Please let me know if you will attend on Saturday" and say nothing.

This insight has tremendous application in our work and at home.  I think about how often I make a request of my kids without phrasing the question such that a response is required, and then waiting for that response.  A very subtle change that makes a big difference.

The principle also highlights the value of accountability agreements, which require us to explicitly state what it is that we individually will do to further the cause or move the project forward.

A key weakness often identified with studies and recommendations lies in the implementation.  What might be possible if this awareness was brought into that part of the process?

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