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Get People To Feel Like Saying Yes To You Even Before Making A Request

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The latest behavioral sciences research shows us a revolutionary and easy way to get someone predisposed to saying yes to you even before making any request! The concept, introduced by Robert Cialdini, is called pre-suasion. Easy to employ, this will make you a more effective persuader with little extra effort.

The key is not so much what is said when making your request but on what the person experiences just prior to it.

Cialdini explains it best –

“The basic idea of pre-suasion is that by guiding preliminary attention strategically, it’s possible for a communicator to move recipients into agreement with a message before they experience it. The key is to focus them initially on concepts that are aligned associatively with the yet-to-be-encountered information.”

Robert Cialdini, Pre-Suasion

For example, you are a manager of a wine store that wants to empty their shelves of German wines. Do you put them on sale, advertise or give out coupons? No. Just play German music on the store’s sound system. In a study, customers who listened to German music as they entered a store were more likely to buy German wine. When French music was played, they tended to buy a French vintage [1].

Other researchers found that if college students were first asked to draw a set of long lines on a piece of paper, they were more likely to estimate the length of the Mississippi River as being much longer than those who had been asked to draw a set of short lines [2].


Want people to have feelings of warmth and trust towards you before asking them for something? Wait till they are holding a warm cup of coffee or beverage in their hands and then make your request [3].

Photo by Aphiwat chuangchoem on

How To Pre-Suade People

Direct the subject’s attention to something that is closely related to the message you are about to deliver and the direction you want them to go in order to comply with your request. When they later decide whether to say yes to you, they draw on this association and will be more inclined to agree because you pre-activated this line of reasoning in their mind and they are now drawn to it.


Why It Works So Well

There are two main reasons why this works.

Firstly, when exposed to the opening concept (German music, warm cup), the second closely related association (German wine, amicable warm feeling) is more easily accessible to our reasoning. This makes it more likely that we will subliminally link the two and get pushed down a predetermined path in our decision making. All without realizing it and consciously establishing the link.

Secondly, concepts not related to the opener are more suppressed in our memory and we find it harder to access them when we are weighing our choices.


When you encounter an influencing technique like this that works on people automatically, you know it is potent. You can read my previous article on identifying effective persuasion techniques here.

Of course, this does not guarantee you will get compliance, but it drastically improves your odds.

Pre-Suasion, is a highly informative book and will give you a much deeper understanding of this technique.

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade By Robert B. Cialdini, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2016.

Lastly, if you are the adventurous and curious kind (warning: pre-suasion), you may want to see my full influencing and persuasion reading list. Find it by clicking the link below.


Influencing And Persuasion Reading List

Thanks for reading! Please follow me if you liked this because you may find my other advice useful too.


  1. North, A.C.; Hargreaves, D.J.; McKendrick, J. “In-Store Music Affects Product Choice” Nature, 1997, 390 (November 13), 132.
  2. Oppenheimer, D.M.; LeBoeuf, R.E.; Brewer, N.T. “Anchors Aweigh: A Demonstration of Cross-Modality Anchoring and Magnitude Priming” Cognition, 2008, 106, 13–26.
  3. Inagaki, T.K..; Eisenberger, N.I. “Shared Neural Mechanisms Underlying Social Warmth and Physical Warmth” Psychological Science, 2013, 24, 2272–2280.

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