Don’t ask me to explain why the human brain works the way it does. And don’t ask me how scientists get the idea for some experiments.
Instead, take note of the most influential work in the English language, because I want you to be more influential.
What’s that one word?
It’s not “you” or “free” or “instantly” or “new.” They’re very powerful words, as every copywriter knows. But they’re not the most influential.
The most influential word comes from The Wizard of Oz.
Becuz becuz becuz becuz beCUZ!
Because Is the Most Influential Word, Because It Is
Researcher Ellen Langer wanted to see how to make requests more persuasive. She had her researchers approach lines to copiers in busy offices and asked if they could go next. Each time, researchers used a very specific request: “Excuse me, I have five pages. Could I use the copier next?”
When asked this way, sixty percent of the time the people already in line let the researchers butt in. Not bad.
When the researchers added “because I’m in a rush,” the number soared from 60 percent to 94 percent!
But here’s where the word “because” really earns its stripes. Researchers realized “because I’m in a hurry” made sense. What if the “because” clause was meaningless.
They ran the experiment one more time, this time asking, “May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies.” Well, of course, they had to make copies. Why else would they be asking to use the Xerox machine?
You’d think such a silly request would prompt the people in line to say “get lost.” But that didn’t happen. What did happen was astonishing, and it made the word “because” easily the most influential word in English.
When asked “May I use the Xerox machine, because I have to make copies,” 93 percent of the people in line said “sure.”
Like I said, don’t ask me to explain why the brain works this way, just remember that it does.
When you ask someone to go vote on April 2, add a because clause. “Will you vote on April 2, because it’s an election day,” will be as effective as “will you vote on April 2, because your liberty depends on it.”
Now, go find out:
And here’s the book that’ll make you more influential: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive
Source: The Xerox studies can be found in: Langer, E., Blank, A., and Chanowitz, B. (1978). The mindlessness of ostensibly thoughtful action: The role of “placebic” information in interpersonal interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 36: 639– 42. Retrieved from Goldstein, Noah J.; Martin, Steve J.; Robert B. Cialdini (2008-06-10). Yes! (Kindle Locations 2882-2884). Simon & Schuster, Inc.. Kindle Edition.