Use the Principle of Commitment and Consistency to Recruit Others to the Cause

Friday

This is one of six "weapons of influence" from the book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The principle says that once you have committed yourself to something, you tend to remain consistent. That is, you become resistant to changing your mind about what you believe (once you have expressed some commitment to it).

And the more you have done to express your commitment, and the more public you have made your commitment, the more resistant you are to changing your mind about it.

For example, in one experiment, researchers went around in a neighborhood and asked people if they would be willing to put a three-inch square sign in their window that said "Be a safe driver."

Two weeks later a different volunteer went through the same neighborhood and asked for something outrageous: "Would you be willing to put a billboard on your lawn supporting driver safety?"

Those who had earlier agreed to the little sign were much more likely to say yes to the billboard than people who had refused the little sign. And almost everyone who they asked to put the billboard on their front lawn who had not been asked to display the little sign refused.

In other words, once someone committed themselves a little bit to the cause by putting the little sign in their window, they were more committed to the cause. They were more willing to do something significant about it. This is the principle of commitment and consistency.

The author, Robert Cialdini, defined the principle this way:

It is, quite simply, our nearly obsessive desire to be (and to appear) consistent with what we have already done. Once we have made a choice or taken a stand, we will encounter personal and interpersonal pressures to behave consistently with that commitment. Those pressures will cause us to respond in ways that justify our earlier decision.

So when you can get someone to sign a petition to stop Saudis from teaching hatred in American schools or to protect women from oppression by Islamic supremacism, the person who signs it commits herself a little to the cause.

Signing a petition is a small act. It only takes a few moments. But the act makes a person more committed to the cause in general. She or he may begin to think of herself or himself as an advocate for the cause. The petition signer will be more likely to commit to something bigger for the cause in the future when an opportunity arises.

1 comments:

Walter Sieruk 10:07 AM  

As for sharia law , on a back issue of actforamerica.org newsletter entitled "Sharia's encroachment in our courts" the article informs the reader "Increasingly U.S. courts have yielded to Sharia, our judicial system is failing to adhere to the very beliefs on which this country was founded. Sharia advocates are overturning our long-held legal traditions to follow precepts laid down by a faith that represents less then one percent of our population and whose beliefs are at odds with U.S. legal and spiritual history. American law reflects Judo-Christian values and traditions." Which "is now being threatened ,as sharia has encroached into American the system, and Muslim advocacy groups have increased pressure to institute sharia." About Sharia law the article further reads "This immutable Islamic legal doctrine derives from the Quran and other sacred Islamic texts, interpretations and rulings. it mandates gender apartheid, religious discrimination. Muslim supremacy ,cruel punishments and denial of free speech and religion...the treatment of non-Muslims to proper wife-beating techniques....Islamic doctrine recognizes men as superior to women in matters of civil arbitration and thus promotes the unequal of women." near the end of the article is also explains to the readers that "Sharia is at odds with everything enshrined in our constitution to honor and preserve individual liberties and freedom."

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