I’m hoping some of you read the headline and recognized the chorus of Little Feat’s “Willing” in which our lonesome truck driver, given the impetus of ‘weed, whites and wine’ (not to mention ‘a sign’) becomes willing to get moving.
Given that most of us don’t have the aforementioned weed, whites and wine at our disposal in most situations, how can you get others from “no” to ‘willing” to do something?
For an answer, take a look at this article from NY Mag’s “Science of Us” titled: “The Magic Word that Makes You Seem Extra Persuasive” in which the writer, Cari Romm, takes a look at an interview done with Elizabeth Stokoe, a professor of social interaction, that showed that if you asked someone a straight up and down question such as “Would you consider mediation?” They generally said, “No.” If they were asked, “Would you be willing to mediate?”, however, they generally said, “Yes.”
The full article (which is f.a.s.c.i.n.a.t.i.n.g. It looks at everything from the way how you say “hello” impacts your caller, to how to talk to your doctor, to phrasing for suicide prevention) shows that when you ask people if they are ‘willing’ to do something they begin to think about what saying ‘no’ says about them as a person…..and that extra step in their thought process is often enough to get them to at least consider your request. (If you don’t have time to read the whole article, cut to the heading, “The Natural Laboratory.”)
In other words, if you are willing to learn more, I encourage you to read on.