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Ganging Up

 

Techniques Willpower > Ganging Up

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

One way of exerting willpower to gain compliance is to get other people involved such that your will is backed up by theirs.

This may be done with the supporting people joining in the argument. It may also be sufficient for the target person to know that they are in support. Whichever way is used, the target person should feel the pressure of multiple wills being applied on them.

Example

A trade union representative who is going to argue with a manager brings along two rather aggressive-looking supporters who do nothing but stand there while the representative does the arguing.

A marketing manager wants the financial director to allocate more funds for a campaign. They get the sales on board, who sends an email to the financial director supporting the funding. The marketing manager then goes along with a senior colleague to present a powerful case for the spend to the financial director.

Discussion

In most persuasive situations there is often an imbalance of power. Where the other person is more powerful and unsympathetic, then applying your will to them can have a negligible effect. The imbalance may be addressed by bringing in more powerful allies who can support your will with theirs.

One way this can help is that social pressure multiplies when more than one person stands together. This is a known effect that minorities often use to successfully bring pressure on majorities.

When you bring in other people, they either need to be in agreement with you or may need persuading. In either case, you will likely owe them something in return for their help.

A risk of bringing in others to persuade is that the target person responds by doing likewise. If this seems likely then keeping it between two people is wiser and other methods should be used.

See also

Power

 

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