Would you persuade, speak of Interest, not of Reason. - Poor Richard
NY: Free Press
(6) six universal principles of social influence: reciprocation (we feel obligated to return favors performed for us), authority (we look to experts to show us the way), commitment/consistency (we want to act consistently with our commitments and values), scarcity (the less available the resource, the more we want it), liking (the more we like people, the more we want to say yes to them), and social proof (we look to what others do to guide our behavior).
(12-13) Guests who learned that the majority of other guests had reused their towels (the social proof appeal), which was a message that we've never seen employed by even a single hotel, were 26 percent more likely than those who saw the basic environmental protection message to recycle their towels. That's a 26 percent increase in participation relative to the industry standard, which we achieved simply by changing a _few words_ on the sign to convey what others were doing. Not a bad improvement for a factor that people say has no influence on them at all.
(13) Your audience is obviously unlikely to respond favorably to a statement like, "Hey you: Be a sheep and join the herd. Baaaaaaaah!" Instead, a more positively framed statement, such as, "Join countless others in helping to save the environment," is likely to be received much more favorably.
(16) Guests who learned that the majority of the prior occupants of their particular room had participated were even more likely to reuse their towels than guests who learned the norms for the hotel in general.
NB: closer resemblance, more effect
(17) It's usually beneficial for us to follow the behavioral norms associated with the particular environment, situation, or circumstances that most closely match our own environment, situation, or circumstances….
the more similar the person giving the testimonial is to the new target audience, the more persuasive the message becomes.
(23) If the circumstances allow for it, focusing the audience on all people who do engage in the positive behavior can be a very influential strategy.
(27) More interesting, however, was the finding that those who had been consuming _less_ energy than their neighbors actually _increased_ their energy consumption by 8.6 percent. These results show that what most others are doing acts as a "magnetic middle," meaning that people who deviate from the average tend to be drawn to the average like metal filings to a magnet - they change their actions to be more in line with the norm regardless of whether they were previously behaving in a socially desirable or a socially undesirable way.
(28) The results of this study demonstrate not only the power of the social norm to bring people's behavior toward it like a powerful magnet, but also how we as persuaders can reduce the likelihood of our message backfiring for half of the population that receives it: We should convey our approval for, and appreciation of, those already acting in a socially desirable way.
(34) Although it may seem against your intuition at first, it may be worth considering a reduction in the number of options provided by your business in order to drum up maximum interest in your offerings. This could be especially true if you have customers and clients who are uncertain of exactly what they might want.
(37) So, no longer should your message read, "Receive a free security program." Instead, it becomes, "Receive a $250 security program at no cost to you."
The idea of valuing what you do doesn't just apply to those running a business. There are potential applications for anyone looking to influence others.
(39) According to decision researcher Itamar Simonson, when consumers consider a particular set of choices for a product, they tend to favor alternatives that are "compromise choices" - choices that fall between what they need, at a minimum, and what they could possibly spend, at a maximum. When consumers must make a decision between two products, they often compromise by opting for the less-expensive version. However, if a third product were to be offered that was more expensive than the other two choices, the compromise choice would shift from the economy-priced product to the moderately priced product (which is no longer the highest-priced product in the set of choices).
NB: More expensive first
(42) When the fear-producing message describes danger but the audience is not told of clear, specific, effective means of reducing the danger, they may deal with the fear by "blocking out" the message or denying that it applies to them. As a consequence, they may indeed be paralyzed into taking no action at all.
(43) The more clearly people see behavioral means for ridding themselves of fear, the less they will need to resort to denial.
(47) The norm [of reciprocity] drives us toward fairness and equity in our everyday social interactions, our business dealings, and our close relationships, and it helps us build trust with others.
(48) We often make the mistake of asking, "Who can help me here?" This may be a shortsighted approach to influencing others. It is far more productive to ask ourselves, "Whom can I help?" or, "For whom can I do a favor?"
(55) This research [the second mint from a server experiment] clearly shows the value of giving gifts that are significant, unexpected, and personalized…
To ensure that any gift that you give or favor that you perform is most appreciated, make sure to take some time to find out what gift, to the recipient, would best fit those three important criteria.
(58-59) Impressively, those who saw the reciprocation-based message were 45 percent more likely to reuse their towels than those who saw the incentive-based message... Along with the data from other research studies, these findings [reciprocation-based message showed 45% more compliance with reuse of hotel towels] make it clear that when we're trying to solicit cooperation from other people - be they coworkers, clients, students, or acquaintances - we should offer help to them in a way that's unconditional and no-strings-attached. Approaching the potentially cooperative relationship in this way should not only increase the likelihood that you'll secure their cooperation in the first place, but also ensure that the cooperation you do receive is built on a solid foundation of trust and mutual appreciation, rather than on a much weaker incentive system. You'll also find this approach to be much longer lasting. Otherwise, the moment the incentive you've been promising or awarding can no longer be offered or is no longer desired by the other person, the brittle foundation of the relationship may crack, and the cooperative bridge you've built up may come crashing down.
(60-61) [Francis] Flynn asserts that immediately after one person performs a favor for another, the recipient of the favor places more value on the favor than does the favor-doer. However, at time passes, the value of the favor decreases in the recipient's eyes, whereas for the favor-doer, it actually increases.
NB:" Japanese on and giri
(62) So what can be done to maximize the value of a favor we provide if its value might diminish in the eyes of the receiver over time? One way might be to recognize the value of the gift or favor you have provided at the time by telling the receiver that you were happy to help because you know "that if the situation was ever reversed, I'm sure that you would do the same for me."
A second and potentially more risky strategy might be to restate the value of the previous gift before making a subsequent request in the future.
(65) But why would such a simple additional request [asking to put a small window sign before asking to put a large lawn sign], a strategy that the researchers refer to as the "foot-in-the-door technique," result in this astonishing boost in compliance with the much larger request [to put a large sign on the lawn]? The evidence suggest that after agreeing to the request, the residents came to see themselves as committed to worthy causes, such as safe driving.
(69) This strategy, known as the labeling technique, involves assigning a trait, attitude, belief, or other label to a person, and then making a request of that person consistent with that label.
(73) First, when people are asked to predict whether they'll engage in a socially desirable behavior in the future, they feel compelled to say yes because that's the socially desirable thing to say…
Second, after most (if not all) of these people have publicly stated that they'll perform the socially desirable behavior, they'll be motivated to behave consistently with the commitment they just made.
(74) … the commitment has three components that potentially cement that potential voter's commitment: The commitment becomes voluntary, active, and publicly declared to others.
(77) Why are commitments that are written (and therefore active) so much more successful at eliciting participation? People make judgments about themselves based on observations of their own behavior, and they infer more about themselves based on their actions than on their nonactions. In support of this explanation, Cioffi and Garner found that those who volunteered actively were more likely to attribute their decisions to their own personality traits, preferences, and ideals than were those who volunteered passively.
(81-82) [Fighting consistency with consistency to counteract resistance to change] Such a situation requires us to do something else in addition to pointing out how our proposal aligns with what they have previously declared to be important to them. To ensure our message is optimally persuasive, we need not only to free them from their previous commitment, but also to avoid framing their previous decision as a mistake. Perhaps the most productive method is to praise their previous decision as correct "at the time that they made it." Pointing out that the previous choices they made were the right ones "given the evidence and information they had at the time" can help free them from such a commitment and allow them to focus on your proposal without the need for loss of face or inconsistency….
As the saying goes, the best way to ride a horse is in the direction that the horse is going. Only by first aligning to the direction the hi
orse is going is it possible to then slowly and deliberately steer it where you'd like to go.
(84) Benjamin Franklin: He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged.
NB: asking for a favor may be more persuasive in the long run than doing a favor
(87) Consistent with our hypothesis, people in the "even-a-penny-will-help" condition were almost twice as likely as those in the other condition [would you be willing to help] to donate to the cause (50 percent vs. 28.6 percent)…
We looked at the size in donation amounts and were happy to find that there was no difference in the average donation per contributor.
(91) First, because the starting prices for auctions act as somewhat of a barrier to entry, lower starting prices are better for encouraging participation by as many people as possible in the bidding process for an item. Second, the increase in traffic - reflected in the total number of bids as well as the number of different bidders - afforded by these lower initial prices acts as social proof for new potential bidders. In other words, prospective bidders considering an item that started off at a low price would find social validation that the item is of value because so many more people were also bidding on the item and this validation would spur them to bid on the item as well. Third, bidders for items with low starting prices, especially those who get in early, are likely to spend more time and effort updating their bids. In an effort to justify the time and energy they've already spent on the bidding process, these bidders are more likely to stay committed to winning the auction by continuing to bid and raising their bids even higher.
(92) This means that a lower starting price is likely to be most effective when there's a possibility that many bidders will join the bidding fray for your product but is likely to be least effective when the bidding is limited to only two potential parties.
(95) This research [more favorability when a speaker is introduced by someone else rather than him/herself] confirms that having a skilled third party who will set up your initial presentation can be a very productive and worthwhile strategy for conveying your expertise in an area. In fact, where possible, that third party should also negotiate contract conditions and remuneration on your behalf. We'd also recommend that when giving a presentation to people who don't know you very well, you should arrange for someone else to introduce you to your audience. One of the most efficient ways of doing this is to ensure that you have prepared a short biography of yourself. This biography needn't be lengthy, but it should at the very least contain some information about your background, experience, training, or education that makes it clear that you are qualified to speak on a certain topic. You could also include several examples of successes that you've had on the topic on which you'll be speaking.
(100) In fact, behavioral scientist Patrick Laughlin and his colleagues have shown that the approaches and outcomes of groups who cooperate in seeking a solution are not just better than the average member working alone, but are even better than the group's best problem solver working alone. Far too often, leaders - who, by virtue of greater experience, skill, and wisdom, deem themselves the ablest problem solver in the group - fail to ask for input from team members….
First, lone decision-makers can't match the diversity of knowledge and perspectives of a multi-person unit that includes them…
Second, the solution seeker who goes it alone loses another significant advantage - the power of parallel processing. Whereas a cooperating unit can distribute many subtasks of a problem to its members, a lone operator must perform each task sequentially.
(101) The final choose is always for the leader to make. But it's the process of seeking input that leaders should engage in more collectively. Those who arrange for regular team input can expect to achieve better outcomes, In addition, they can expect better relationships and rapport with their team, which enhances future collaboration and influence. But is there not a risk of bruised egos and lost motivation if a team member's idea is ultimately rejected? As long as a leader assures the team that each view - while perhaps not the deciding factor - will be considered in the process, this shouldn't occur.
(103) … sometimes the goal should not be to persuade, but to _allow ourselves to be persuaded by others_ if we're leaning in the wrong direction.
NB: knowing when the lean is wrong is the difficulty
(104) When the majority members are confronted by a person who truly appears to oppose their position, they search to understand why the dissenter is so committed to his or her beliefs. In the process, they come to a better understanding of the problem and consider it from a broader perspective.
NB: dismissal of True Believers
(105) Considering the findings of this research [Devil's Advocate instead of true dissent can harden conformity], perhaps the best policy for leaders is to create and sustain a work environment in which coworkers and subordinates not only feel welcome but are also encouraged to openly disagree with the majority viewpoint. This could well translate into more innovative solutions to complex problems and greater overall employee morale (as long as dissension remains professional and not personal), and could eventually lead to increased profits. In situations in which decisions will have long-lasting and potentially far-reaching implications, consideration should also be given to actually seeking out true dissenters. By encouraging knowledgeable others to passionately persuade us that we may be leaning in the wrong direction, we place ourselves in a position to gain a greater understanding from a genuine argument rather than a simulated one, allowing us to make optimal decisions and create maximally effective messages.
(108) One group learned from case studies that described real-life situations in which other firefighters made poor decisions that led to negative consequences. The other group learned from case studies in which firefighters avoided negative consequences through good decision-making. Joung and her colleagues found that firefighters who underwent the error-based training showed improved judgment and were able to think more adaptively than those who underwent the error-free training.
NB: The value of failure, fail faster
(112-113) Arguing against your self-interest, which can include mentioning a drawback of your arguments, proposals, or products, creates the perception that you and your organization are honest and trustworthy. This puts you in a position to be more persuasive when promoting your genuine strengths.
(116) However, if you're also looking to enhance their positive feelings specifically toward the object of discussion - be it a restaurant, a product, or even your credentials - then you'd be well advised to ensure that any dark cloud you describe is paired with a silver lining tailored to that particular cloud.
(118) In other words, be sure to follow your discussion of a drawback with a positive aspect that's related to, and that neutralizes, that drawback.
(120) Social scientist Fiona Lee and her colleagues suggest that organizations that attribute failures to internal causes will come out ahead not only in public perception, but also in terms of the profit line. They argue that blaming internal, potentially controllable failures makes the organization appear to have greater control over its own resources and future. They also suggest that the public response to an organization's internal focus to explain failures might be to assume that the organization has a plan to modify the internal features of the organization that may have led to the problems in the first place.
(123) They discovered that when these companies explained failures in their annual reports, those that pointed to internal and controllable factors had higher stock prices one year later than those that pointed to external and uncontrollable factors….
First, as the research suggests, this strategy [blame others or external forces] is likely to be ineffective because it does nothing to prove to skeptics that we have any control over the problem or that we have the ability to fix the problem. Second, even if we do manage to distract attention from our mistake in the short term, the spotlight - or perhaps more accurately, the bull's-eye - will eventually find its way back to us in the long term, potentially highlighting not only our mistake but also our deceptive impulses.
(126) Potential clients may thus be more receptive to a sales pitch from a salesperson with whom they share similarities in any number of dominions, including names, beliefs, hometowns, and alma maters. Pointing out similarities can also be the first step to resolving potentially ugly conflicts with coworkers and even neighbors. Of course, we're not advocating that people invent similar characteristics or attributes with others to gain their favor. But what we are suggesting is that if you do share genuine similarities with someone, you should bring those similarities to the surface in your discussions with that person before making your request or presentation.
(131) This research suggests that if you're designing a program, initiative, or product that's being tailored for a specific client, you can harness the power of people's natural tendency to be attracted to things that remind them of themselves in the name, title, or label that you give it. Specifically, you should name it based on the client's name or even just the first letter of the client's name.
(134) In fact, social psychologists Tanya Chartrand and John Bargh argue that matching the behavior of others creates feelings of liking and strengthens bonds between two people.
NB: Mirroring and prisoner's dilemma games.
(135) Based on some additional data from the experiment, the researchers concluded that behavior-mirroring led to increased trust, and that increased trust typically led one negotiator to feel comfortable disclosing details that were ultimately necessary to break a stalemate and create a win-win situation for both parties.
(138) However, when the tasks were performed well, those who viewed the "authentic smile" video said they would be more satisfied with the customer service than those who viewed the "inauthentic smile" video.
(139) A second, more general approach is to try to follow the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin: "Search others for their virtues." Many of us spend too much time finding faults in the people we deal with in our everyday lives. If, instead, we try to search their character for what we like about them, we'll like them more; and, as a result, they'll like us more.
(142) People show a greater desire for an object or opportunity when they learn that it is unique, available in limited quantities, or obtainable for only a limited time…
Similarly, colleagues at work might be persuaded to help you out on a project or initiative if they are told of its uniqueness: "It's not often we get the chance to be involved in an initiative such as this."
NB: Tom Sawyer organizing
(143) These findings [information about scarcity increasing price and same information from exclusive source increasing price 600%] offer a clear insight and applications that will make your request more persuasive. If you pass along information that is uniquely known by you, but fail to point out the exclusivity of the information, you could be losing an excellent opportunity to use an effective and ethical influence technique.
(145) Note that the thing Mr. Mullins [who launched a campaign to keep the old Coke] _liked more_ [New Coke, in his blind taste test] was less valuable to him than the thing he felt he was _losing_ [old Coke].
(147) Psychological researchers Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky were the first to test and document the notion of "loss aversion" - the idea that people are more motivated to avoid losses than they are to acquire gains. Loss aversion can explain quite a bit of human behavior, including behavior in areas such as finance, decision-making, negotiation, and persuasion.
(148-149) In fact, research has shown that potential losses figure far more heavily in managers' decision-making than the same things presented as gains. For example, let's say you have an idea that, if adopted, can potentially produce savings of up to one hundred thousand dollars a year for your department. Instead of presenting that idea as a saving, you're likely to be more persuasive if you frame the initiative in terms of losing the same amount if it fails to get adopted.
(151) The Xerox study demonstrates the unique motivational influence of the word _because_.
(152-153) Taken together, the results of this study [using "because" and a good reason instead of just alone or with a bad reason] suggest that when the stakes are low, people are more likely to take mental shortcuts. On the other hand, when the stakes are high, people really do take the strength of the requester's reasoning into consideration when deciding how to respond to the request.
These findings serve as a reminder to always be sure to accompany your requests with a strong rationale, even when you think the reasons might be fairly clear.
(153-154) One effective way to strengthen your business ties and your clients' confidence in your company is to have the decision-makers at your client's firm generate a few reasons they use your business… Research by Gregory Maio and colleagues suggests that this procedure will strengthen your clients' commitment to your firm by reminding the clients that the continued business relationship is rational rather than simply habitual.
(157) More generally, psychologists refer to the ease or difficultly of experiencing something as the "fluency" of that experience, a concept we'll be coming back to.
The data from this research [on the ease or difficulty in the process of generating reasons for a decision] indicate that before asking your audience to generate many reasons in support of your position, it's important to consider just how easily they'll be able to do so. If the task seems like a relatively difficult one, ask them instead to generate only a small number of reasons. The findings also suggest a rather ironic strategy: You can potentially give yourself a competitive edge by asking your audience to generate many reasons _in favor of your rival's offerings_. The more difficult it is for the audience to come up with a large number of rationales, the better your goods, services, or initiatives will look in comparison.
(158) This research [on the ease and difficulty, fluency, of imagining an image] shows that concrete images are likely to be more effective than abstract ones. In addition, the decision-making process in these types of cases can be facilitated through greater collaboration with the copywriters, prior testing of the ads, and focus groups that are specifically geared toward understanding how easy or difficult it is for a relevant audience to imagine themselves in the requested situations.
(159) …people tend to have a greater affection for words and names that are easy to pronounce (that is, those that have a high degree of fluency) than those that are hard to pronounce.
(162) Because the audience has difficulty interpreting the language, the message is deemed less convincing and the author is perceived to be less intelligent.
(165) The researchers explained that rhyming phrases are characterized by greater processing fluency: They're mentally processed more easily than non rhyming phrases. Because people tend to base accuracy evaluations, at least partly, on the perceived fluency of the incoming information, the rhyming statements are actually judged as more accurate.
(167) The primary principle underlying this effect is known as perceptual contrast. Simply put, the characteristics of objects are not perceived in a vacuum, but rather in comparison to others. If you asked to pick up a ten-pound weight in a gymnasium, it will appear lighter if you had first picked up a twenty-pound weight and heavier if you had first picked up a five-pound weight. Nothing has actually changed about the ten-pound weight - except your perception of it. This psychological process is not limited to weight; it holds for almost any type of judgment you could make. In every case the perceptual process is the same: Prior experience colors perception.
NB: Variation of compromise choice (39)
(171) According to Nunes and Dreze, reframing the program as one that's been started but not completed rather than as one that has not yet begun meant that people felt more motivated to complete it. They also pointed to research showing that the closer people get to completing a goal, the more effort they exert to achieve that goal.
NB: climate change
(173) The message is clear: People will be more likely to stick with programs and tasks if you can first offer them some evidence of how they've already made progress toward completing them. If you use this strategy, like cars at a car wash, your influence will sparkle.
(175) … products with unexpected descriptive and ambiguous names were in fact regarded as more desirable than were those of the other two category types [common and common descriptive].
(179) Consumers' memories, subjected to hundreds of thousands of these [brand, quality, cost] associations in the course of modern life, aren't up to the task - at least not without the assistance of point-of-purchase cues that revive the desired connection. It's for this reason that any major advertising campaign needs to integrate the essential images, characters, or slogans of the ads into the in-store product displays and product packaging the consumer sees when making a purchase choice.
(183) … mirrors also act as windows into what we look like - and perhaps more important, what we _want_ to look like - on the inside. As a result, looking at ourselves in a mirror causes us to reflect on our behavior and act in more socially desirable ways…
As a result, looking at ourselves in a mirror causes us to reflect on our behavior and act in more socially desirable ways.
(185-186) If adding mirrors to a specific location isn't practical, there are two other possibilities that produce mirror-like effects. First, social psychologist Ed Diener and his colleagues have found that asking people their names can have a similar effect. This means that asking kids and employees alike to wear name tags should lay the groundwork for more desirable behavior. Second, recent research by scientist Melissa Bateson and colleagues suggests that placing a simple picture of eyes on the wall also has the effect of getting others to act in more socially conscious ways.
(188) Sad buyers were willing to purchase the item for around 30 percent _more_ than were emotionally neutral buyers. And sad sellers were willing to part with the item for around 33 percent _less_ than were there emotionally neutral counterparts.
(189) Behavioral scientists Christopher Hsee and Yuval Rottenstreich have asserted that people's judgment and decision-making abilities can be impaired by any emotionally charged issue, regardless of the positivity or negativity of the feelings it produces. They argue that emotions lead people to become less sensitive to differences in the _magnitude of numbers_; in other words, people are more likely to pay attention to the simple _presence or absence_ of an event as opposed to the specific numbers characterize the event. What this means is that people are more likely to pay attention to the simple presence or absence of an emotion-laden offer as opposed to the specific numbers that characterize the offer.
NB: Implanting emotions into issues - manufactured True Belief?
(191) The findings from this study indicate that doing something as simple as focusing on numbers and calculations before the negotiation should help restore your ability to differentiate between the magnitudes of numbers….
Even if you're experiencing a particularly acute emotional feeling, it would generally be good practice in any high-value decision-making situation to allow a period of time to pass, to compose yourself.
(192) In fact, by offering to postpone negotiations with someone who has just had a negative emotional experience, you'll strengthen your relationship by making yourself seem noble, caring, and wise, which are three priceless characteristics of anyone who wishes to be more influential.
(194) In a series of studies, [Daniel] Gilbert has found evidence supporting the hypothesis that upon hearing someone make a statement, the listener immediately accepts it as true, regardless of whether it's actually true. It is only with mental effort that, a fraction of a second later, the listener recognizes a statement to be false, subsequently rejecting it…
But when people are tired, they're more likely to be in a heightened state of gullibility because of the diminished cognitive energy and motivation associated with exhaustion….
Studies can demonstrate that distraction has a similar effect on our susceptibility to influence, even if that distraction is only momentary.
(198-199) Even if you can't choose the time of day, having coffee or caffeinated tea on hand should make your audience more receptive to your message. But be aware that it usually takes about forty minutes for the full effect of caffeine to kick in, so in a ninety-minute presentation, you may want to stop at the midway point to summarize your best arguments for whatever you've been pitching.
Of course, as the research suggests, this strategy is likely to be effective only if your arguments are genuine, thoughtful, and well reasoned. If they aren't, caffeine is likely to have no effect or, worse still, there's a possibility that a caffeinated audience will be more resistant to your poorly reasoned arguments than a non caffeinated audience.
(202) According to the findings of an additional study, Kruger and his colleagues suggest that simply having senders pause for a moment to reflect on how their email might be perceived differently than intended can drastically reduce this problem [bad communication].
(204) So, by taking the time to disclose something personal about yourself and to learn something personal about your online counterpart, you'll likely be able to increase the size of the pie for you both to share.
(208) The results revealed that South Korean participants were more persuaded by the collectivistic than the individualistic ad, and reverse was true for U. S. participants. And, consistent with the earlier study, this effect was especially powerful with products that people tend to share with others.
(211) Because people from individualistic cultures tend to give greater weight to their own personal experiences, consistency with one's previous experiences is often a more potent motivator of people from countries in North America or Western Europe. And because people from collectivistic cultures tend to give greater weight to the experiences of close others, the behavior of close others is often a more powerful motivator of people from countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, South America, and Africa
(214) … individualistic cultures place a greater emphasis on the informational function of communication, whereas collectivistic cultures place a greater emphasis on the relational function.
(219) This is completely consistent with an abundance of research showing that those who behave in an untrustworthy manner can do little to regain the public's trust.
(220) Often the first influence strategy that comes to mind will not be the most ethical - or the wisest, as was demonstrated by the outcome of the owner's actions [price gouging in a crisis]. But by taking the extra effort to consider all of the available options - and by now, you should have a toolbox full of them - you can move people toward your perspective, product, or initiative in a way that's genuine, honest, and long-lasting.
(221) free monthly online Inside Influence Report.
(225) What can we do together to help bring in more fans to the games? [minor league hockey club]
NB: ask for help group problem-solving - Amanda Palmer learn to ask
(227) Kathy's report [on asking parties in a mediation to meet privately with a mediator first before publicly stating monetary numbers] very aptly shows the negative side of public commitments. Because such commitments lead people to defend their original stands, we should avoid beginning a meeting by asking individuals to state their positions regarding the best way to handle the issue at hand. Instead, all of the available options should be discussed at the start of a meeting; then, after everyone has had an opportunity to consider all the evidence, people will have an opportunity to publicly support a particular course of action.
(232) Inside Influence Report monthly: http://www.influenceatwork.com