Getting Others to Act

Daniel Pink

Lesson time 16:57 min

The key to getting someone to do something is to make them think it was their idea. Learn about the dangers of coercion and how to persuade others by finding common ground instead.

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Topics include: Don't Irritate, Agitate! · Motivational Interviewing · Bring Social Proof · Build an Off-Ramp


[00:00:00.00] [JAZZ MUSIC] [00:00:07.41] I think the single most important realization I've had about moving others is that the goal isn't to do something to somebody else. It's setting up a situation in which the other person can do something for themselves. That's a much more effective way of persuading that person. [00:00:27.66] One of things we know about human beings is that when human beings have their own reasons for doing something, they're more likely to do it, they're more likely to believe in the reasons for doing it, they're more likely to sustain that behavior. And so, in many ways persuasion is not some kind of magical thing that we do to manipulate people like some kind of crazy hypnotist. What we're doing is we're changing the context, and we're helping people summon their own reasons for doing something. [00:00:59.81] [JAZZ MUSIC] [00:01:06.48] One way to think about persuasion is to think about the difference between irritation and agitation. Irritation is trying to gets somebody to do something that you want them to do. Agitation is trying to get someone to do something that they ought to do, and ultimately will want to do. And what we know from a whole array of our lived experience and a whole array of evidence, is that agitation is better. [00:01:37.95] The most effective persuaders are not irritators, they're agitators. They help other people understand the context that they're in, and help them summon their own motivation for making a change, for doing things differently, for doing things in a different way. [00:01:56.41] So let's say that you're working on a project with a teammate, and you have a certain way that you want something done. You can irritate your colleague. And all of us who have had colleagues know that some people are very, very irritating. Why? Because they're controlling. They want you to do things their way all the time. And what I would suggest to you in those kinds of situations, where you might very well be right, is actually ask more questions as a way to agitate. [00:02:27.03] What would you think if we did x, y, or z? What do you think is the best way to do this? I'm thinking that we might want to go this way, but give me a strong argument for why we shouldn't do that. And if you think about that. If you just think about that example right there, in the first one where you're trying just you're just hectoring people, it's almost like you're kind of ping them in the chest, and nobody likes that. [00:02:53.79] With the agitation, you're making them a little uneasy. That's the whole point. You're agitating them a little bit, but it's a much more effective form of sparking their behavior, because they're forced to come up with their own kinds of motivations for doing something. They are more collaborators rather than puppets. [00:03:14.43] One way to think about the difference between irritation and agitation is that irritation is leading with your mouth, and agitation is leading with your ear...

About the Instructor

With four NYT bestsellers, Daniel Pink is an influential voice in the evolving landscape of sales and motivation. Now the author of To Sell Is Human teaches you science-backed principles for effective and ethical sales and persuasion. Learn tactics for achieving better outcomes in any interaction—at home or at work—and tools for framing your message, navigating cognitive biases, and pitching ideas, products, or yourself.

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Daniel Pink

NYT-bestselling author Daniel Pink shares a science-based approach to the art of persuading, selling, and motivating yourself and others.

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