Every day, you’re faced with a list of requests—often from strangers:
- Will you register to vote?
- Would you like to add a drink to your order?
- Help us save the whales?
- Watch my stuff while I use the restroom?
- Can I have your phone number?
As I walk around Portland, I can confidently say I face all but one of these questions every day. I’ll let you guess which one that is…
The requests are annoying but easy to avoid. I’ve gotten skilled at just saying, “No, I don’t want to.” If the requester looks particularly eager, I might pretend I’m on my phone as I walk by.
Somehow, though, I still find myself saying yes to various requests once in a while.
Think about the last time this happened to you. You said yes to a request you’d normally say no to. What was different about that interaction? What did the other person do to persuade you?
Chances are, you don’t remember. The interaction didn’t seem different from any other. That’s because what they did differently was hardly noticeable—it didn’t even register. Based on an enormous body of psychological research on behavior and compliance, though, I can make a pretty good guess at what it was:
The touched you.
It was nothing invasive or aggressive; you would have remembered that. One or two light touches completely changed your view of the person asking you for [insert random / annoying request here]. It briefly altered your brain’s chemistry and made you think, “Hey, why not?”
If you’ve ever found it hard to get someone to help you with a simple request (*cough* spouse, kids, co-works, business associates, etc.), take note. This trick is so simple, you can master it in less than 10 minutes. And the results could be life-changing—better jobs, more money, stronger relationships, more success, etc.Continue Reading →