Could you babysit my elephant please?

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baby elephant lib REUTERS If you want to get someone to do what you want, try asking them first if they'd mind babysitting your pet elephant!

London - If you want to get someone to do what you want, try asking them first if they’d mind babysitting your pet elephant!

According to a new study, the best way to win people over to your side is to start with an outrageous demand first.

Researchers found that when a person encounters a strange request, they’re much more likely to agree to the next thing you ask for.

The sneaky technique is a more effective version of the classic “foot- in-the-door” approach, according to the study author Dariusz Dolinski, a researcher at the Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities in Poland.

While a street beggar might ask for the time and then follow up with a request for spare change, Dolinski suggests it’s better to make the first question more bizarre or extreme.

In an office context, a boss might ask an employee to work weekends and holidays for a whole year and take a pay cut. When that request gets turned down, the manager should get better results with the follow-up asking for a report to be turned in by Friday.

The outrageous question effectively reframes the real request to make it sound much more reasonable.

Dolinski says the reason the approach is so successful is because the weird question throws off our usual refusal script.

Instead of instinctively saying no, we question why we’re being asked something so out of the ordinary and wonder whether we should have been so quick to refuse.

When the subsequent question comes along, we’re still off balance and much more open to complying, he claims.

To test his theory, the researcher had a colleague stop people on the way into a supermarket and say to them: “Excuse me, but I suffer from terrible back pain and I cannot bend down. My shoelaces are undone. Could you please be so kind as to tie them for me?”

Some other passers-by were given a routine marketing survey.

Moments later, the same people were approached right at the door to the supermarket and asked by a woman if they would “keep an eye” on her shopping cart full of groceries.

She explained her husband had her car keys and it was hard to push the cart around and look for him because it had a broken wheel.

Dolinski found that people were much more likely to mind the woman's shopping cart when they had been previously asked to fulfill an unusual request - to tie someone else's shoelaces. - Daily Mail

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