Recently I read an article in Psychology Today about persuasion techniques. I liked one persuasion technique in particular. I could relate to it.
In this aptly named technique, the persuader makes a ridiculously large request, knowing the other person is sure to reject it. He then follows up with a favor that is more reasonable.
Researchers uncovered the power of this approach some years ago by studying a group of college students. The students were first asked to volunteer as camp counselors two hours per week for two years. When
they rejected the request, a second favor was asked: Would you be willing to supervise a two-hour trip?
Among the subjects who only heard the second request, 17% agreed. But among those who had heard both requests, 50% agreed. The secret power of this approach is reciprocity. Because we see the second
request as a lesser burden—and therefore a favor to us—we are likely to give in out of perceived obligation.