• Anna Conrad

The Best Persuasion Technique is Also the Easiest



People often think that the higher your title, the more persuasive you naturally are. But hierarchy will only get you so far. Whether you are the CEO or a Project Manager, there is one technique you can use to persuade people: BYAF.


The 'But You Are Free' technique reaffirms people's freedom to choose*. This occurs by adding the sentiment that the person is free to choose when you ask someone to do something. By reaffirming their freedom, you indirectly tell them you are not threatening their right to say no. They have a free choice.


The exact words used are not important. What is essential is that the request is made face-to-face: the technique's power drops off otherwise. Even over email, it still has an effect, although reduced. The studies have shown that using the phrase, "But do not feel obliged" worked just as well as "but you are free."


The BYAF technique is simple and amenable and can be used with other approaches.

It also underlines that people hate to be hemmed in or have their choices reduced. We seem to react against this attempt to limit ourselves by becoming more closed-minded.

The BYAF technique, as with any effective method of persuasion, is about helping other people make the decision they want of their own free will. If they have other options, like simply walking away and starting to feel corralled, you can wave them goodbye.


*A review of 42 psychology studies involving over 22,000 people using this technique showed that this technique doubles the chances that someone would say 'yes' to a request!