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Uncertainty

 

Techniques General persuasion > Creating Cognitive Load > Uncertainty

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get them to think more by making things uncertain.

Cast doubt on the things they think are true. Delay decisions to later in the process. Challenge authority. Change your mind. Expose flaws. Change resourcing. Bring in new experts or decision-makers. There are many such ways to make things uncertain.

You can also engage them in conversation where they may be persuading you to be more certain. Appear as if you want to be persuaded. Be the fish on their rod. Let them coax you to the shore.

Example

You know, I thought I liked it but now I'm not so sure. Can you go through the details again?

Did you realize that we may not get approval? Let's look at the specification again.  

Discussion

When something important to us is uncertain, we think of ways to make it more certain. Once we think something is certain, we mentally close on it and consequently stop thinking about it. They then start thinking about other things, perhaps including things you would rather they ignored.

Just because a subject is closed, it does not mean you cannot open it again. In fact re-opening something creates significantly more uncertainty as it indicates that all other items that are closed could be re-opened.

See also

Uncertainty principle

 

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