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Disclaimer About Self

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Disclaimer About Self

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get other people to comply with your request by downplaying your reasons for asking.

Indicate that you do not want to make a bad impression. Say that you do not have any bad intentions. Point out that you do not really want to ask for this to be done, but you have not real option and are doing so reluctantly.

Example

I really don't know how to ask you this and I wouldn't normally do so, but the situation is desperate.

I don't want to impose and I don't like to ask, but the banks are closed and I need money to pay the taxi.

Sorry to have to ask but I don't know how else to get a babysitter tonight.

Discussion

When there are extenuating circumstances, people will often agree to a request. We all like to appear reasonable and generous, so with fair reason will accept, just this time, what may seem to be an unreasonable request.

In effect, this disclaimer can often be a pre-apology, first excusing yourself and then making the primary request. This allows you to ask for things that the other person might otherwise refuse. In apology, it also lowers your status relative to theirs. This make this disclaimer into a kind of trade, where you give them status in return for their compliance. 

Disclaimer About Self is also written 'Disclaimer (Self)'.

Disclaimer About Self is the 24th of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Excuses

 

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

 

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