Monday, October 25, 2010

We all communicate, but do we really connect?

I'm reading a book on the power of language.  Although it's not necessarily reflective of my faith-based worldview, (I find pursuing happiness to be futile.  I'd rather pursue contentment with my circumstances.) the book has some intriguing insights.

Language is creative in many ways such as using it to create a commitment.

A restaurant owner was seeking ways to lower his rate of "no shows" on his reservation list.  He had about a 30% dropout rate (with no prior notice) for his reservations.  His staff would say "Please call us if you should need to cancel your reservation."  He instructed his staff to change the wording.  They began to say "Would you call us if you need to cancel your reservation?"  His "no show" rate immediately went down to 10%.*  Most people probably responded with "okay" or "yes,"  With those words they'd made a commitment to call if they needed to cancel.  Something was asked of them and if they responded with an affirmative answer, they realized they were making a public commitment...a promise to do something. 

What a difference this would make if implemented in our families, work relationships and businesses.

*Cialdini, Robert B., Influence: Science and Practice, Allyn & Bacon, 2001, page 74.