Because I Said So
Didn't you hate hearing that phrase from your parents when you were growing up? Do you catch yourself using it when dealing with your own kids? Somehow, it works – or at least serves to end the conversation.
And while that may not be the best example of using the word "because" persuasively, some folks believe it could be the most persuasive word in the English language.
In a recent article in Inc. Magazine, Jeff Haden references a test at a copy machine, described in detail in Robert Cialdini's book Influence. To net it out, in Scenario 1, someone asks to cut the line for the copy machine without giving a reason. 60% of the people in line allowed the person to go ahead of them. In Scenario 2, the person wanting to cut the line gives the reason that he is in a hurry and 94% allowed him in. Was being in a hurry a good enough reason?
Cialdini writes, “A well-known principle of human behavior says that when we ask someone to do us a favor we will be more successful if we provide a reason. People simply like to have reasons for what they do.”
So if we know that people are more responsive to us when we give them a reason, imagine the power of giving them a meaningful reason.
In your dealings with the people you lead, both personally and professionally, don't be afraid to use the word "because". But for best results, be sure to follow it with substance.