Two Simple Questions to Motivate

By Jaquelyn Smith, adapted from Business Insider, 1/13/16

Over the last few months, psychologist Ron Friedman, author of The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace, has been organizing an online summit on peak work performance, featuring discussions with 26 of the world’s top productivity experts….

In his conversation with Daniel Pink, the author of Drive and A Whole New Mind, they discussed a particularly useful persuasion technique. “Anyone can use this method to convince others to take action by using two simple questions to ignite motivation,” Friedman explains.

Pink said,… “The idea is that, if somebody is resistant to doing something, you ask him or her two questions.”

The first question is: “On a scale of one to ten — one meaning not at all likely, ten meaning ready to do it right now — how likely are you to [do your homework, start speaking up in class]?”

“Since these people are generally resistant to what they are doing, the answer is often very low; for example, a three,” says Pink….

[Then ask] the follow-up question: “Okay, you are a three. Why didn’t you pick a lower number?”

“That’s the key,” says Pink. “The reason that is effective is because, at that point, that person has to see why he or she is not a two….”

“What happens then — and this is the key point — is people begin articulating their own reasons for doing something. When people have their own reasons for doing something, they believe those reasons more deeply and adhere to the behavior more strongly. That’s the power of that kind of one-two punch of peculiar questions.”

And what do you do if someone says they’re a “one?”

You follow up with: “What could we do to make it a two?”…

Pink explains…. “Usually you get twos and threes. When you get a one, it usually means that there is a barrier [you have to help the person deal with] that is preventing them from making any motion at all.”

See also in ClassWise:

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