I was teaching a tap dance workshop at this festival when a question came up. I asked the students – a wonderful group 11-14 year olds – if they had ever tried to convince a friend to do something that their friend had never done before. Here are the four methods of incentivizing that these young people had already come to apply on their own friends.
Threats – “I will leave if you don’t do this.”
Bait – “Your life would be better if you do this”
Trust – “Trust me that if I say you should try this it would be in your best interest.”
Encouragement – “I’ll do it with you!”
Repetition – “I will not stop asking until you do it.”
It was admittedly a surprising and rather complete list. If teenagers were this astute as to the ways of convincing I wondered how much more those with a few more years under their belt. I also started to think about the kinds of methods I have used in the past, those I would be comfortable to use on others in the future, and how I try to convince myself to do new things.
Things to think about.