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Dripping Tap

 

Techniques Willpower > Dripping Tap

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

To use the 'dripping tap' method of persuading, make the same small request, on a regular basis, until the other person gives in.

Make each request friendly and unthreatening. Do not argue when they say no. Do not build up the requests, making each bigger, nor escalate, calling in higher authorities. Just persist with regular, small, polite requests.

If the other person tells you not to keep repeating the request, you may find other ways to get the message across, even with a sad look or careful rephrasing. You can alternatively increase the gaps between requests or make them more irregular.

Example

Every Saturday, a boy asks his mother if he can bring friends home to play. At first, the mother refuses. The boy never argues back. After several months of these quiet requests, the mother gives in and lets his friends visit.

A person at work needs an unhelpful colleague to complete some work. The person asks daily how they are getting on with it until the other person completes the work. 

Discussion

When a person is in a position of low power and where arguing the case is likely to cause a hardening of opposing attitudes, then making increasingly stronger arguments or other escalations is likely to end up in a battle that will likely be lost.

When the request is made in a polite, friendly way, and when it is small, then the other person will find it hard to oppose. If they simply refuse, then this may seem quite enough and further criticism would seem unfair, so they are less likely to say more than 'no'.

When they know that the request will be repeated, they start to expect it, which creates a steadily increasing tension, which eventually will get high enough to make them give in.

See also

Persistence, Escalation, Build-Up, Persistence principle, Tension principle

 

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