Notes to Self

Thoughts on psychology, spirituality and soft skill development for personal improvement


Why Do you Say Yes?

There are some specific conditions or situations in which we tend to comply with direct requests.

  • Foot in the door - Once we have granted one request, we are more likely to comply with another request. So a salesperson will make a small request first: "May I ask you a few questions?" and "May we sit down?". Finally, “May I order you one?”. This is called the "foot in the door" technique. (Note that the initial requests should be phrased to get a "yes" response.)

  • Door in the face - First, someone makes a very large request of you and you say “no” (that's the door in the face). They graciously accept your refusal and then a few days or weeks later the same person approaches you with a much more modest request. You are more likely to comply this time than if you had never been approached.

  • Low Ball - First, get a person to agree to some unusually good deal. Then change the conditions and the person might still agree to the new conditions! For example, a car salesperson might offer you a fantastic deal or a teacher might request some help. Once you agree, then the sales person 'discovers' a mistake and raises the price or the teacher tells you it’s a dirty job at 7:00 AM, but you still go through with the agreement.

And of course, do not forget the age old technique of throwing a tantrum, promises, arguments and threats! ;)

Some people may find these techniques 'manipulative'. A simple yardstick to check whether you are being manipulative is to ask yourself - "will this truly be useful to the other person?" If the answer is yes, your conscience can rest at peace. Of course, the other person still could feel he / she is being manipulated ... that's life!