The Powerful Word “Because”

„Because“ is a magic word if you want to get people to do something.

Imagine this

You’re lining up in front of a photocopier waiting to make copies.

A person approaches and asks:

Excuse me. I have 5 pages. May I use the photocopier?

A bit later a second person appears and asks:

Excuse me. I have 5 pages. May I use the photocopier because I’m in a rush?

And then a third person arrives and asks:

Excuse me. I have 5 pages. May I use the photocopier because I have to make copies?

Would you let anyone jump the queue. If so, which person?

The experiment

Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer ran this experiment with her team in the 1970s.

And the results?

They were quite surprising:

    • 60% of the people let the first person skip the line.
    • 94% of the people let the second person skip the line.
    • 93% of the people let the third person skip the line.

Yes, this sounds rather crazy, doesn’t it?

So what does all this mean for you?

The lesson here is that people are more likely to agree to something if they understand why it’s being asked.

Giving a reason (almost any reason!) can be a good way to persuade people to do something.

That’s the power of that little word „because“.

Now over to you

Perhaps you’d like to add this word to a request, a statement or a call to action and see what happens?

And don’t forget to tell me if it works for you, too.

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to jump the queue – die Warteschlange überspringen, sich vordrängen

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Foto Christine Sparks

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