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Suggest

 

Techniques General persuasionKellerman and Cole's 64 Strategies > Suggest

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Get people to do as you want simply by making suggestions.

Do not tell, just suggest. Give them options rather than commands. You can offer just general suggestions or be more specific. A good way of doing this is to find out what they want to achieve and then give suggestions as to how they can achieve these goals. You can also suggest changing their goals, perhaps as a means of achieving a higher purpose.

Example

Why don't you just ask her out? Don't try to be clever, just say 'Would you like to go to the dance with me?'

Could I suggest that you take a break from that work? Come for a coffee and we can talk about where to go on holiday.

If I may offer an idea here, we could go offsite for the meeting. It would help us focus more.

Discussion

It can be surprising how people can be unsure about what to do and how a simple suggestion is enough to help them in the right direction.

This method is particularly useful when you do not have much authority and are dealing with a person who wants to appear powerful. In such cases you may need to appear relatively subservient and let them stay in control.

A temptation can be to give many suggestions, but this can lead to paralyzed confusion rather than action. While confustion can be a useful persuasive mechanism, it is not a part of this approach.

Suggest is the 54th of the 64 compliance-gaining strategies described by Kellerman and Cole.

See also

Hinting

 

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

 

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