Face-to-face requests are more effective than email requests


Do you need a favor? Whether you want to ask your boss for a vacation day or you want to get your friend to help you move, here is something you may want to know: A recent study published in Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that requests made in person are 34 times more likely to be accepted.

The researchers found that when people made a request over email or text, they were less likely to get a positive response than when they asked in person. This lines up with other research that shows that emails are less persuasive than in-person interactions.


Although we live in an increasingly tech-reliant world, this research is a good reminder that—at our core—we are social animals. We rely on cues like body language and tone of voice in order to be able to size up a person’s intention and determine their trustworthiness. However, when interactions take place over email, research shows that a lot can get lost in translation. In fact, studies show that people incorrectly interpret the intended tone of an email message 50 percent of the time!

Wow. That amounts to a lot of hurt feelings and unnecessary arguments, all because we tend to rely on technology rather than communicating with one another in person.


How Can You Master The Art of Persuasion?

Here are some other tips to keep in mind if you want to persuade someone to do you a favor:

1. Use reverse psychology. Studies say that if you really want someone to do something for you, you should start your request with the phrase “You will probably refuse, but…” People don’t like being told what to do, so when someone says “You will probably refuse,” they will be more likely to acquiesce.

2. Be sure to give a reason, any reason. Research shows that people are more likely to give into requests if the favor-asker provides a reason for their need. The reason doesn’t even have to make perfect sense. Just give a reason, researchers say, and it will help to encourage a positive reply from your audience.

[h/t: Harvard Business Review]


About the Author
Bridget Sharkey
Bridget Sharkey is a freelance writer covering pop culture, beauty, food, health and nature. Visit Scripps News to see more of Bridget's work.

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