Persuasion is a skill that is truly worth investing in, and that has many potential applications in the workplace as well as our private lives. Whether you are trying to get your loved one to take out the trash, to persuade the masses to vote for you, or sell a new type of detergent, getting people to agree with you and say ‘yes’ can give you a huge amount of power.
The good news is that if you are willing to put in the time required to learn them, there are actually many different persuasion techniques out there which can take advantage of the ways our brain work in order to get people to agree with you. They might not even know why they’re doing it, but due to the way their brain is wired, they’ll want to say yes and you’ll tip the odds in your favour.
‘But You Are Free’
One such technique is called the ‘But You Are Free’ technique, and according to a survey of 42 different studies involving 22,000 participants, it is the most effective persuasion technique out there. In fact, the numbers suggest that by using it you may be able to double the chances that someone will say yes to it. So what is it?
The clue is in the name. In order to use the ‘but you are free’ technique, you simply have to make it clear that the person you are trying to convince has a choice. So you might say to them ‘this is the best detergent on the market and great value’ but then add ‘but you’re free to look elsewhere if it’s not for you’. This works well because it empowers the other person and means they don’t feel ‘pressured’ into the choice you want them to make. This in turn means they’re likely to drop their defences, but at the same time side with you and be less questioning of your motives.
Research also suggests that it doesn’t matter how you phrase it, as long as you acknowledge the fact that there are other options. So next time you’re trying to win an argument or convince someone of your point of you, let them know they’re free to disagree. But only do it if you want to…