By Anju Miura


If you have taken a communication or psychology class, you may have learned about Aristotle’s persuasive techniques: ethos, pathos and logos.


Here are a few psychological techniques to take you even further when you need to persuade a friend to take your side or convince your parents to bring you on family vacation.


Mirroring body language

When you want to convince or persuade someone, you need to build a relationship to make others feel relaxed.


Subconsciously, we tend to mirror the behavior or language of people we like. You feel more comfortable when your body language is copied by the person talking to you, and thus will be more generous to them.


One study found that waitress who used the mirroring technique gained higher tips as compared to those who didn’t.

You may be able to get what you want through mastering this mirroring technique.


Double bind technique

Have you ever been in a situation where whatever decision you made, you knew you’d regret it? For example, choosing between two flavors of ice cream you don’t feel strongly toward.


The problem is that when someone provides limited choices, you are prone to become blinded to other options — such as not getting the ice cream or going to another store to buy a different flavor.


If you’re asking someone on a date, you’ll have better luck saying, “Delivery or go out, what do you want to do tonight?” Rather than simply asking, “Do you want to hang out tonight?” By providing specific options, it helps to eliminate the option of choosing neither.


Door-in-the-face technique

This technique involves asking for an enormous favor, only to follow up with a much more reasonable favor. This increases the odds of getting a positive response to the second, and real, request.


For instance, you may reject when a volunteer group asks you to donate $5 to charity. However, if they first ask you to donate $50 and then tell you that “Oh if you don’t have $50, you could donate $5 instead,” you may accept to the latter.


This is the reverse of the foot-in-the-door technique, which starts with small requests and slowly builds up to a larger request.

Low-ball technique

The low-ball technique involves the advertising of a product or situation as being cheaper or easier than it ultimately will be. People commit to the payment or circumstances and are later shown hidden costs and requirements.


For instance, you may agree to answer a quick survey on the street in exchange for free snacks. You’ll soon realize the survey actually takes 20 minutes and start feeling reluctant to complete it. Because we want our behavior to be consistent, we are unlikely to change our mind once we have accepted the offer and will typically complete the task, or pay the full amount, despite not having committed to it had we known  


When you want to ask someone to do something, it’s better to tell the advantages of the offer first, and then later show the disadvantages.