Read this - but of course, you are free to refuse.
Developed by Nicolas Guéguen and Alexandre Pascual in 2000, “But You Are Free” (BYAF) technique has been quite popular in the field of research, testing its effectiveness. Christopher Carpenter, the author of a more recent study related to the technique has tried to accumulate these previous researches, utilizing 42 studies to be exact.
Results showed that using the key phrase to the end one’s sentence can double the chances of someone agreeing to the request compared to those requests delivered without it. Moreover, he also found this to be more effective when the person being asked accepts or refuses immediately, instead of having ample of time to go and think about it. The type of request, however, - whether for a good cause or to sell something- doesn’t even matter!
“In my favorite study
using this technique, research assistants approached people near a post office while holding a large spider in a clear plastic box. The spider was described as “a live adult trap-door spider that was bigger than the hand of an adult man.” The targets were asked to hold the box while the requester went into the post office for a few minutes. The technique was, as usual, substantially more effective than just asking normally. What I love about this study, is that it showed the technique worked even when the request was a large one. It showed a wonderfully creative approach to finding a request that people would consider large and yet everyone could say yes to if they chose,” Carpenter says.
The technique is based on the psychological reactance theory on which people don’t like when their freedom’s threatened. The phrase therefore openly emphasizes the target’s right to say ‘‘no’’ which is thought to make people feel better about the request. Another perspective is that such technique shows respect for the target on which the target feels obliged to reciprocate.
One should put in mind though that when utilizing often, this technique could lead to manipulation that isn’t really healthy- to others and especially to oneself.