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Debt

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Debt

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get others to do as you request by reminding them that they owe you.

If necessary, give details of what you did for them. Describe your help for them in as much detail as is needed. If required, you can also indicate how much trouble this was for you, and that you gave your time and money unstintingly, making their happiness the first and only goal.

Example

Hey, Si, can you give me a lift to the airport? After all, I gave you a lift to town last week when you were stuck.

After all things I've done for you, I think you owe me this one.

I've worked hard for this company. I think I deserve a raise.

Discussion

When we do something for other people, there is a social rule that says they are obliged to repay you in some way. An extension to this rule is that you can specify what they must do to repay the debt. This is based on the principle that you probably did not influence their original request for help and just helped in any way you could, and that it is this generous, unqualified support that must be repaid.

As this uses a social rule, making your request when others are present will significantly increase the social pressure on the other person to comply with your request.

Debt is the 19th  of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Obligation principle, 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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