The one word that will make you more persuasive


Adding one simple word can make you more persuasive.

In a famous 1978 Harvard University study, a researcher would attempt to cut in line to copy some pages at the library.

In some cases they said: “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”  

In others, they asked the same thing except for adding a simple word. 

And this simple word made it 50% more likely they would be allowed to cut the line.

Here’s what they said.

 “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies?” 

Yes, the simple word was “because”. 

When we hear “because” it helps us justify a behaviour - in this case letting someone cut in.

So next time you have to ask a favour, be sure to add “because”, because it will make you more persuasive.


Ref: Langer, E., Blank, A., & Chanowitz, B. (1978). The mindlessness of Ostensibly Thoughtful Action: The Role of “Placebic” Information in Interpersonal Interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36(6), 635-642.


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