This one sentence doubles the chance someone will say ‘yes’ to your request.

First a little mystery! Some of the qualities of that sentence are:

  • It’s practical, easy to implement and consistently effective
  • It’s based on one’s desire for freedom of choice
  • It’s small but mighty!

So, what is it?

A meta-analysis published in December 2012 of 42 studies and 22,000 people showed that if you include the sentence: But you are free to refuse the request.” in your ‘ask’  you will double the chance that they will say ‘yes’.

When you reaffirm the other people’s freedom to choose you are indirectly saying to them “I am not threatening your right to say no.” You are putting them in charge.

When we feel cornered or that our choices are limited, we react by closing our mind, becoming less receptive to influence. Good persuaders help the person come to the best decision for them through their own free will. This sentence simply underlines that.

This is a small but mighty idea to open someone to persuasion. It seems easy enough to implement with sufficient benefits to make it important enough to try…. But you are free to choose whether or not you want to use it.

To see the meta-analysis go to

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