Easy influencing – just add one word…

31st January 2023

When I say to my kids…

“Would you like to go to bed?”

They say “No”.

A fair – if, frustrating – answer to a yes/no question!

Instead, when I add one of the question words (when, how etc) at the start, it changes everything:

  • When would you like to go to bed – now or in ten minutes?”
  • How would you like to go to bed – shall I carry you, or shall we have a race?”

Or I could change the wording slightly, still adding a question word at the start:

  • Who do you want to take you upstairs – me or your mum?”
  • “We’re going to read your bedtime story soon. Where do you want us to read it? On your bedroom chair, or in bed?”

The great thing about all these options is the question word – when, how, who, where – have changed the question from being a ‘yes/no’ to a ‘yes/yes’.

And it’s much easier to get a yes if you’ve offered them a choice of yeses!

You can do exactly the same thing at work, of course:

  • Want to organise another meeting with someone? Ask “When shall we get together again?”
  • Need somebody to brief you on how to do something? Ask “I’ll need a quick briefing on this. How would you like to brief me? Shall we chat it through now, organise a quick call, something else?”
  • Want to meet somebody’s contact/colleague? Try this: “I’d love to have a quick conversation with [boss’s name], to ask her views about what we’ve just discussed. How would you advise we arrange this? Shall the three of us get together? Or would you prefer to email-introduce me to her? Something else?”

Does this technique always work? Of course not. Nothing always works.

But you’ve a much greater chance of getting a “yes”, if you don’t offer “no” as an option!

So my question to you…

Action Point

when will you first use this technique today?

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