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CHaR: Confusion, Humor and Request


Disciplines > Sales > Sales methods > CHaR: Confusion, Humor and Request

Confusion | Humor | Referral | See also


CHaR is an acronym for a very powerful way of getting other people to comply with requests. It stands for Confusion, Humor and Request.


Say something that confuses the other person. To work well, it should make sense on one level, but when thought about more carefully is unexpected, ambiguous or uncertain in some way.

For example, you could open a phone call by saying 'I think bears should be pink' or 'Do you know what color socks I am wearing?'

Confusion creates tension as the person feels they should understand what is said and yet they are unable to do this.


Now say something that is funny, making a joke out of the confusing comment.

For example you could say 'If bears were pink then at least you could see them coming', or 'One sock is blue and the other is green - I seem to have put on odd socks today.'

Humor is a release. It provides a matching closure to the previously-created, tense confusion. Be careful with this not to make fun of other people, although of course you can poke fun at yourself.


Now make a request. You are more likely to be successful if this is fairly easy for the person to comply.

In selling, typical requests are for information, a referral or for a meeting. It is surprising how often you will gain compliance, as compared with if you had just started with the request.

In the confusion and humor stages you wound up the other person and then released their tension. They are now in a relaxed state where they are open to suggestion. They should also like you more and be grateful to you for giving them a bit of fun and for letting them off the hook of trying to make sense of what you said.

In sales, this works well when people are expecting you to go in with a hard-sell approach as the anticipation of conflict is replaced by entertainment and fun. 

See also

Confusion principle, Closure principle


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