Apparently, two of the most important words you can use when you’re trying to get people to do what you want are you and because. I wasn’t surprised by the suggestion that the word you is a powerful attention getter because people generally like to insert themselves into content, but I was surprised by the compelling case for the power of because.
The article I hyperlinked above shares how social psychologist Ellen Langer performed an experiment that involved her asking to cut in line to use a copy machine in a typical workplace. Langer tested three different ways of asking the same question, and here’s what the results demonstrated:
First way: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?
The result: 60% said yes.
Second way: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?
The result: 94% said yes.
Third way: Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?
The result: 93% said yes
Interesting. At first you think it’s the I’m in a rush part that does the trick, but it isn’t—it’s the because that's the influencer. I think it’s because the brain responds to a proposed reason for a demand, even if that proposed reason isn’t all that reasonable!
So It’s a simple but powerful formula:
The idea + The ask x Because = Influence
This isn’t to say you should rattle off the word because in every piece of content you produce and share. It's to say that you should be comfortable with and know how to strategically situate the word because into the kinds of content making a proposition or issuing an ask.
Because apparently the results will be powerful.
Because is the honey that attracts the bees.