You’re probably doing this already, but if not you might like to consider giving this a try.
When you want someone to take action, give a reason. Explain why.
Harvard psychologist Ellen Lange tested the power of this word by asking to cut in front of people waiting in line at a copy machine. She tried using three different questions:
- “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the xerox machine?”
- “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the xerox machine because I’m in a rush?”
- “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the xerox machine because I have to make some copies?” (Please note that this reason was a rather useless one!)
Of those asked, 60 per cent let her jump the line using the first question. But when she added the “because,” 94 percent and 93 percent, respectively, accepted.