Having people do certain things without having authority over them is difficult to say the least.
One can use the Carrot and Stick approach. A Carrot and Stick approach is a traditional motivation theory that asserts, in motivating people to elicit desired behaviors, sometimes the rewards are given in the form of money, promotion, and any other financial or non-financial benefits and sometimes the punishments are exerted to push an individual towards the desired behavior.
A better approach would be to use Because approach.
Ellen Langer, a professor of psychology at Harvard, conducted a research in 1978 on the power of persuasion of the word "Because."
Langer had people request to break in on a line of people waiting to use a busy copy machine on a college campus. In 1970′s people didn't have home computers nor printers. There were lines waiting to use a copy machine.
The researchers had the people use three different, specifically worded requests to break in line:
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?”
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”
Did the wording affect whether people let them break in line?
Here are the results:
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine?” Resulted in 60% compliance.
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the v machine, because I have to make copies?” Resulted in 93% compliance.
- “Excuse me, I have 5 pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?” Resulted in 94% compliance.
Using the word “Because” and then giving a reason resulted in significantly more compliance. This was true even when the reason was not very compelling such as “Because I have to make copies". The researchers hypothesized that people go on automatic behavior as a form of a heuristic method of short-cut, and that hearing the word “Because” followed by a reason, no matter how poor it was, would cause them to comply.
They repeated the experiment for a request to copy 20 pages rather than 5. In that case, only the “Because I’m in a rush” reason resulted in increased compliance.
So, what does this all mean? When the stakes are low people will engage in automatic behavior. If your request is small, follow your request with the word "Because" and give a reason, any reason. However, if the stakes are high, then there could be more resistance, but still not too much.
Please let me know how this “Because” approach worked out for you. Because I asked nicely.