19 Ridiculously Simple Lessons in Persuasion

Lesson 18 - Because🔝

"Because, because, because, because, because. Because of the wonderful things he does." - Song from Wizard of Oz

Whenever you ask for something, giving a reason increases compliance. This was found in a Harvard experiment from 1978.

A study was done with copier machines. They tried 3 different experiments.
  1. Ask to jump line to make a copy
  2. Ask to jump line because they're in a rush
  3. Ask to jump line because had to make a copy

The first trial had around a 60% success rate. The second trial had a 94% success rate and the final test has a 93% success rate. This is from a Harvard study from 1978.

It turns out that the word because without giving a meaningful reason works about the same as giving one.

The takeaway is to use the word "because:" because it increases compliance with your requests.

This technique is explained in Scott Adams' How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big and Robert Cialdini's book Influence.

Scott Adams also closes his blog posts with an absurd "because" as an inside joke, to his reader that are familiar with the technique.

You might enjoy reading [Scott's] book because:This is a simple strategy to try. If you're already asking coworkers, bosses, family, friends for compliance then just stick in a because and see if you get better results than without it.

Read this blog post from customer.io which gives good examples of using because.

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