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Disclaimer About Norms/Rules

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Disclaimer About Norms/Rules

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get other people to do as you wish by downplaying or otherwise removing any rules, norms, or other constraints that might prevent them from doing as you wish.

Show how what you want them to do is so important that trivial restraints should be ignored. Make out that you have a special case that deserves high priority attention. Indicate the problems that will occur if what you want does not happen and contrast these against the insignificance of the rules. Suggest that the person will get into more trouble for not doing as you say than for breaking the rules.

Example

I wouldn't normally ask you to do this, but if I don't get this done, there'll be all kinds of trouble.

Yes, I know it's not normally allowed, but the Chief Executive wants it, so I guess we can break the rules just this once.

Oh come on. Doing a review really isn't necessary. Let's just publish it now so we can get it out of the way.

Discussion

Rules are often put there for the typical situation and do not cope well with exceptions. With common sense, you can often see what rules can be broken without harming anyone.

Sometimes people (called universalists) feel unable to act in case they break rules of some sort, whether these may be company policies, national laws or social values. If you tell them that it is OK to break the rules, they you effectively take responsibility and they feel they can blame you if things go wrong. This can be enough to allow many people to step over the line. Other people (particularists) will view rules as applicable only in particular situations and are far more open to breaking rules when it makes sense.

Disclaimer About Norms/Rules is also written 'Disclaimer (Norms/Rules)'.

Disclaimer About Norms/Rules is the 22nd of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Values, Trompenaars' and Hampden-Turner's cultural factors

 

Kellermann, K. & Cole, T. (1994). Classifying compliance gaining messages: Taxonomic disorder and strategic confusion. Communication Theory, 1, 3-60

 

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