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Assumption principle


Principles > Assumption principle

Principle | How it works | So what?
 

Principle

If you act as if something were true, I may well believe you.

How it works

If I act as if something is true, then other people around me have two choices. They can either assume I am lying or then can assume I am telling (or acting) the truth.

Generally, we are credible, assume people are telling the truth unless we have already decided that we distrust them. Associated with this we have beliefs in the trustworthy nature of other people. Thus a decision that the other person is lying would cause us dissonance so we assume they are telling the truth.

This is the principle of the Emperor's New Clothes. The false weavers, the Emperor and all except the small boy were playing a big game of 'as if'. It is also the principle used in change management where an effective leader 'has a vision and then inhabits it until it comes true'.

Assumption is a part of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, where your belief in something leads to it coming true. Not magically, but through the conscious and subconscious actions in which you consequently engage.

So what?

Act 'as if' what you want was true. If the other person challenges it or acts confused, be concerned for them.

The 'assumptive close' of selling assumes the other person already wants to buy, so you say something like 'Do you want the yellow one or the red one?'

See also

Self-fulfilling prophecy, Credibility, Beliefs, Cognitive Dissonance, Assumptive Close, Assumptive Adverb Opener

Theories about decision errors

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