Monday, September 29, 2008
Get The Midas Touch
A group of researchers put some coins in the coin return slots of public pay phones and then watched the people who made calls to see if they would reach in to check if there was any change that someone before them forgot.
Whenever a person retrieved the coins from the money return slot, one of the researchers walked up to the person and said that they think that they left some money in the phone, by chance, notice any money in the slot? 97% of the people who took money from the coin slot said no, that they hadn't found any money in the phone. They lied.
With the next group of money grabbers, then the researchers changed thier approach.
Now, instead of asking the way they did before, when they asked the people who had taken the money out of the coin return slot if they had noticed any money in the slot, the researchers lightly touched the people on the arm or shoulder. Ready for this?
95% of the people who had been touched said that, yes, they had found some coins in the slot, and gave it to the researcher.
From 97% dishonesty to 95% honesty....
And the only variable was the touch on the arm.
Now why would that be?
Well, when we like people and when they like us, we touch them and they touch us... either with hugs, pats on the back, hand holding, ticking, high-fiving, wrestling, kissing, a quick rub, a massage... lots of different ways.
Sure... to show approval and to celebrate, we touch. Its just automatic... built into us. And we love it.
So, when the researchers touched the people they were studying while they asked them if they found any change in the coin slot, the people immediately felt more comfortable and closer to the researcher...Instantly closer. All because of a touch.
So, what's the lesson?
If you want to gain trust and familiarity, try a gentle and familiar touch and you will get your way and persuade others to your way of thinking a whole lot more often.
People will most definitely respond positively if a touch is innocent enough and not sleezy.