This Simple Phrase Will Boost Your Powers of Persuasion

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Use sparingly.

Man holding two ice-cream cones

There is definitely an art to convincing fellow co-workers or friends to do something that is slightly inconvenient for them. We’ve all fallen subject to needing a lift to the airport, sourcing someone to plant-sit and feed the dog, or to cover that early morning meeting. And now, according to research conducted by the Polish Psychological Bulletin, if you want to make sure your next request results in a desired “yes”, starting it with the words “you will probably refuse, but…” is more likely to get people to agree to what you’re asking.

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In the experiment, researchers asked participants to donate money to charity. Participants were asked in two different ways, some people asked, “You will probably refuse, but I wonder if you could help us by making a donation” and other asked “I wonder if you could help us by making a donation.” In general, most people declined, but a larger percentage of those who were asked with the magic introduction gave to charity. The concluding findings show that compliance-gaining procedures show that the feeling of someone feeling free to say yes or no, often makes them oblige our request.

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And if, like us, you feel bad for inconveniencing others, don’t. Research suggests that the friend who does you a favour, once doing so, is more likely to like you somewhat more than they did prior, a strange phenomenon that you suspect would actually go the other way. So, next time you’re in desperate need of a Krispy Kreme late one night, chances are with a few winning words, you’ll not only convince your bestie to deliver the goods, but also make them fonder of you in the process.

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