I was digging in the archives of 365 yesterday looking for another post when I came upon this little gem. I decided to share it with you again because this strategy has proven useful, at times, in convincing my loved ones to declutter some things. I hope it will work for you.
Recently I was let in on a strategy on how to state a case or perhaps even get another person to come around to your way of thinking without their sensibilities being offended. The idea is to get people to think rationally about a subject without them realising that you are leading them in a direction they may not have considered.
The trick is to broach the topic in the form of a question that you quite likely have the same opinion on. Once you are in agreement you steer the conversation, maybe even in the form of another question, in the direction in which you want it to go. Successfully bypassing any undesirable emotional response while leading them hopefully to conforms to your way of thinking.
Making a request to grandparents that they don’t overindulge your children with excessive gifts of toys at Christmas and birthdays is a good example of how this ploy might work. Please see below for the scenario I have created to demonstrate this strategy.
While enjoying a normal conversation you bring up your topic by asking ~ “Did you have many toys to play with when you were growing up?”Hopefully they will say “Oh no!…” And they will regale you with some stories of the toys they do remember and how excited they were to receive them at the time.
Then comes the next question ~ “Did you feel deprived because you didn’t receive many or did you have fun regardless?” In this case you will hope the answer is “No we made our own fun. Children these days have no imagination…”
Then comes the $100 question “Do you think children these days have far too many toys?” I have never encountered an adult of my generation or above who ever answered no to this. They all think the current generation is spoiled rotten.
At this point you go in for the kill or should I say you come to the point of your conversation, while you have the upper hand, by saying “I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Don’t you think it would be a good idea if perhaps instead of giving lots of things to the children we all limit ourselves to giving one material gift and perhaps put some money in a bank account for them….”
What has occurred here is that the parent has extracted a true and logical opinion from the grandparent about how overindulged children are these days. Once they have showed their hand you then play your trump card by suggesting your idea of reducing this overindulgence for your own children (their grandchildren). By this point how could they not think that this is a good idea. And even if they do realise that they have been lead to this point, what can they do without losing face but agree your idea is sound.
I have to say I have been at the receiving end of this strategy more than once. Lead there by a certain person in particular who shall remain nameless. I nearly always twig as to what he is up to, but by then he has me caught hook line and sinker. I have to tell you that I am usually glad to be caught. Why, you might ask. Because I have a tendency to allow my emotions to rule my head far too much and his logic is much easier to swallow. With his clever manoeuvring I can then justify what for me may otherwise be a difficult emotional decision. I know my weakness well enough to be grateful to him for steering me away from that frightening abyss.
The beauty of this approach is that if the answers to the questions you are posing are not the ones that cement your case you can abort the mission at any time. No one ever need be the wiser that you were attempting to achieve an objective in the first place.
Today’s Mini Mission
Declutter something you have been procrastinating about getting rid of for a while.
Eco Tip of the Day
Turn off lights when leaving the room no matter how long you are gone for. It really doesn’t take much effort but in the long term all the energy savings do add up.