Hear “Yes” More: The Winning Way

If you want to get your way (and who doesn’t?), use the powerful BYAF—“but you are free”—technique. In Communication Studies, Chris Carpenter explains this deceptively simple persuasive technique: the freedom of choice. Simply acknowledge that the person you’re trying to persuade isn’t boxed in and they have no obligation to say yes, saying something like, “but you are free to say no.” Your exact words don’t matter; what’s important is that you preserve all the options for the person you’re trying to sway.

In 42 separate psychological studies testing more than 22,000 individuals, people were more likely to agree if they felt they had options. For best results, deliver the BYAF message face to face; studies show that doubles the chance of a positive response. Let's reiterate: it doubles the chance of the person saying "yes" to your request. They'll probably choose the favorable response anyway, and under the impression that they had the power to make choice and control the situation, they'll be happier to make the decision you want. It's persuasion perfected.


Betsy Simnacher is a freelance writer who has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines nationwide. She lives in the suburbs of Dallas.

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