Imagine if you could increase the chances of someone saying yes to you by over thirty percent by simply changing one word in your request? That word is ‘because‘.
‘Because’ it is an influential word. ‘Because‘ is persuasive because it’s a trigger. When people use the word ‘because’ it typically serves to justify a request that they have just made.
For example, in their now legendary Xerox research study, Langer, Blank, and Chanowitz explored how the language of requests influences the willingness of people to comply. To do this, they observed how well different requests to cut into the line at the library copier worked. They found when people ask to cut into the line to make five copies. They are successful about sixty percent of the time, no questions asked. When the requestors add a reasonable justification for cutting into the line (‘. . . because I’m in a hurry’) the request becomes much more persuasive and compliance rockets to ninety-four percent.
Why is the compliance level so improved? The use of the word ‘because‘ that’s why!
The part of the study that captured people’s attention, though is what happens when you add ‘because…’ paired with a meaningless justification: ‘Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I need to make copies?’ Duh! That surely would be why you’d be waiting to use the Xerox machine in the first place.
Despite the meaningless reason, the compliance rate for the ‘, because I need to make copies’ request, was a stunning ninety-three percent. Giving no important reason was just as effective as providing a good one. This finding suggests that you don’t need to bother with the reason why you just need to say ‘because‘ and compliance happens.
I think these results have stunning implications for you. The impact is that we may be able to add massive power to our messages by merely including the word ‘because’ in the text.
Try using the word because in all your influence, persuasion and negotiating situations, and I believe that you will get far more compliance from others.
Why? Just because!