How To Get Someone To Stop Texting

If Dale Carnegie is right about one more thing, I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Dead for over 50 years, this unique human being and author of How To Win Friends & Influence People never goes out of style even if the stories he tells in his book are a little long in the tooth.

“Ask questions instead of giving direct orders”.

A study published in the September Journal of Experimental Psychology involved 9,000 commuters on the Bay Area Rapid Transit.

They tried two different signs to see which one would make the commuters take the stairs.

One sign contained a question that said, “Stair climbing improves your health. Will you take the stairs?”

The other sign was a command that said, “Stair climbing improves health. Take the stairs”.

The command got a more immediate impact.

Asking for cooperation got the best long-term cooperation.

Different types of communication are appropriate for different situations.

In general if we want to win cooperation, it is better to ask for it.

Take it to the USC classroom where I started each semester by pulling my iPhone out of my pocket and saying, “Would you mind if I left my phone on? I won’t take calls or answer texts while I’m teaching unless it’s urgent. Will you do the same for me?”

I never had a problem – ever – with a rude student on their digital devices.

So they could answer a text, but applied judgment.

They could step out and answer a call if they deemed it necessary. Usually, they didn’t.

Instead by asking for cooperation, you usually get it.

So I’m glad to see more research evidence and thought you’d like to know about it.

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