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Actor Takes Responsibility

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's Strategies > Actor Takes Responsibility

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get others to agree by saying you are willing to help them.

When they object to your request, listen to their objections and offer to do something about things that are preventing them from agreeing. This is particularly useful when they indicate they are too busy with other work to agree with your request.

A way of framing this is as a contingent exchange, offering them a trade where you promise to help in exchange for their commitment.

Example

Would it help if I came and joined you? I've some time free and we could get it done much faster together.

Is there anything I can do to ensure you are able to do this? I can certainly get other people off your back.

What's stopping you from doing this? If I can address these, will you do this for me? 

Discussion

When people seem unwilling to do things, it may be because they are worried about failing. When you offer to help, that risk is shared. When they have a lot of other work to do, your offer of help can reduce their workload and so make agreeing with you easier.

When you offer help, you are indicating your commitment, both to the task and also to them. This sets up an exchange dynamic where they feel you are not just taking advantage of them, and that you are personally giving to them. This helps them to feel that the request is fair and consequently feel more ready to help you in return.

Actor Takes Responsibility is the first of the 64 Kellerman and Cole compliance-gaining strategies.

See also

Exchange principle

 

Kellermann, K. & Cole, T. (1994). Classifying compliance gaining messages: Taxonomic disorder and strategic confusion. Communication Theory, 1, 3-60

 

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