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How to Change People Who Don’t Want to Change | The Behavioral Science Guys

How to Change People Who Don’t Want to Change | The Behavioral Science Guys

(Music) David: OK, full disclosure: today’s title is an overstatement, but only a little. Joseph: Those of us with a bad habit have probably heard all the guilt, pleading and logic for change a million times. We are prepared to resist and combat every logical or emotional attack. Especially smokers. More than most any addiction, they have seen the anti-smoking ads, the horrific images of cancerous lungs. Everybody has told them a hundred times to just stop; and does it work? Of course not. So, let’s look for BS you can use. (Music)
Alright. First, let’s find some smokers . . . . . . and a couple of confederates. In the control condition, we will have Cole and Josh try the traditional lecture approach. Hardly any takers. 90% of the smokers responded resentfully. Just under half even took the paper when it was forced into their hand. So, reminding people of something they already know, but don’t want to think about, didn’t work. Now, here comes the BS you can use. This time, we will have our intrepid confederates try something different. We will replace a tired lecture with an “Influential Question.” This time, Cole approaches the subject with a fake cigarette and asks for a light. Joseph: This is fascinating. The adults are now telling the boy why he shouldn’t smoke. David: It gets even better. Now that the smoker is making the anti-smoking arguments, the kids turn it back to the smoker with an “Influential Question.” Joseph: Just look at the body language this time, as compared to the control condition. You don’t see defensiveness. You see openness. David: Exactly. In this condition, close to 90% of subjects not only lectured the boys about the evils of smoking, but committed to trying to quit themselves. And it gets even better. One of them saw the boys later, and came back to continue the rant. Now, the skeptical scientist in me wants to ask, ‘So, was that motivation just temporary?’ Sure they pocket the paper, but do they actually do anything? Good question. When Ogilvy and Mather conducted the experiment in Bangkok, calls to the quit line actually went up 40% on the day of the experiment. Joseph: Wow! David: We don’t know if they actually quit, but we do know that their motivation lasted past the interaction. Yeah, so let’s talk about this. Why did that work? David: I see a few things going on here, but let’s focus on one of them. When you are trying to influence people who need motivation and not information, don’t offer more information. Joseph: Your only hope is to avoid provoking what psychologists call reactance. The best way to do that is not with speeches, but with… questions? Give them a safe environment to explore motivations they already have. David: Exactly. The kids’ approach allowed the smoker to feel emotionally safe, which allowed them to acknowledge their own ambivalence about their habit. So, I have to reintroduce them to values they already believe in by tricking them with a cute kid or a puppy. Close. (Laughs) Stop forcing them to take the wrong side of the argument by lecturing them. Instead, use questions to help them explore their own motivations at their own pace. And it works, too. Go ahead, try it at home. I’m Joseph Grenny. And I’m David Maxfield. And that’s all the BS for today. (Music) Joseph: Sharpen your behavioral science skills by subscribing to our channel for our latest videos and updates. Click here to subscribe, where we always promise to share some BS you can use. David: You’re not trying to win an argument. Get an exhaustive list of all the positives, and then turn to the negatives. And once they make a list of all of those positives: validate, validate, validate! Agree with it. Acknowledge. Support them. As soon as they realize that it’s okay with you that there are benefits in this bad habit, then they will feel okay about acknowledging that there are downsides. You’re trying to get the truth out, because you believe the truth will motivate healthy behavior.

41 comments on “How to Change People Who Don’t Want to Change | The Behavioral Science Guys

  1. I'd love a more detailed explanation of "influential questions" and some examples of such questions that managers might use to motivate others.

  2. Would influential questions be formed to get the other individual to take the argument FOR the change you are trying to make? 

  3. I like the videos and the principles that they highlight. I realize that being done with kids is much more interesting to watch. I am wondering about the validity of these experiments and if they would work the same way with individuals from the working age groups?

  4. I think the key point of the video is formulating  influenctial questions  based on the individual you are seeking to influence thorugh their own personal values and motivations. As I teach various Vital Smarts courses in my organization ( healthcare) to both clinical and non clinical staff (including physicians) – this is one of the most critical skills we teach – meet the person / patient-  where they are and appeal to their personal values about their own wellness!
    Great Job David and Joesph- we love your BS! 

  5. This is always something I try to keep in mind but it's so difficult to act on when you're actually in a situation that requires it. Maybe I need some influential questions, haha

  6. Hospitalized patients are at the mercy of physician's practice behaviors and research has shown that they prescribe based on personal preferences rather than patient needs which drives up costs and risk.  So, what 'influential questions' can be used to ask physicians why they order stuff that is excessive, wasteful and potentially harmful to patients?

  7. This is great information! I always enjoyed the weekly emails you guys send and now a short video is even better. Thank you for all you do!

  8. In the Influencer training, we teach 3 strategies for Source 1: Personal Motivation.  They are 1) Create a Direct Experience, 2) Tell Meaningful Stories & 3) Allow for Choice.  Is this another strategy, or does it fit under one of the three above?  Thanks!  Love the BS Guys!

  9. Several years ago I read a book by Allen Carr called Easy Way To Stop Smoking. He had been a very heavy smoker for 33 years. He also said that smokers know why they should quit. But what they don't know is how to quit without feeling anxious. He describes addiction as a phobia, an irrational fear, but instead of being frightened of doing something, you are frightened of not doing something. I fully agree that telling smokers why they should quit is pointless because they already know that. The question remains is how do you enable smokers to overcome their irrational fear and become fresh air breathers without feeling anxious. I have written many poems on this subject and have been told that they are helpful.
    Using the children to ask if they could have a light worked brilliantly. The best solution of all though, would be if the government stopped selling them…………………but too much money is made from them.

  10. Fantastic. I recall in Dr Covey's classic '7 Habits' he has some wonderful material on this very area – not surprising really when you consider it's about being effective 😉 . He actually gives some great scenarios and specific examples in a classic 'battleground' of parent vs child… exactly what we all don't want but seem to manage so intuitively to find ourselves plunged into at an instant – just this morning for me!

    I apologise for not being able to cite the exact location, though I do believe it's early in the book, and his words/examples and importantly the meaning behind them are just wonderful. I encourage you to check it out if you are after some more great material in what David and Joseph have shared here. Thanks so much to you for this great info.


  11. Very educative video. The content is excellent and the technique showcased is powerful.The choice of the agent who asks questions also might matter. Often prejudices about the intent of the person who asks the questions clouds the response. What would be interesting to know is whether creation of need for change, by asking right questions would be enough to sustain the drive for change.

  12. Excellent material. Inspiring way to share. Keep it running. This is a great way to make an impact to the world.

  13. LOVE the "ask questions" approach to help them figure out what they most likely already know. It's simple and brilliant!

  14. This experiment reminds me a little the pedagogical approach of Socrates known as "Socratic Circles" and "Dialectical method" I love your videos there are very informative!

  15. Iam not even watching this shit . people can't change. I don't think everyone was ment to be the same. this video is str8 manipulation anyways making someone to do something that they don't want two oh please. people wear yep let see what mask your going to get to day people should be asking. ..because people are who they are

  16. patience and time…. yeah right. what a bunch of crap. lemme give you an easy answer from experience. " Leave them be because they are NOT going to change." There's nothing you can do about it it's the ways of the world. a person has to learn the laws of the universe in order to change. I came across 2 that change me for the better. the law of cause and effect and the law of polarity. understanding these 2 laws and applying them will immediately change you over night. From the words of the late Jim Rohn " Don't try to motivate an idiot because now you'll only have a motivated idiot." or don't send your ducks to eagle school. 😤 be at peace my friend your lost was a lost to the world. your student, Mr. Hang

  17. Why do they have to call the kids 'confederates'? (they could be actors, helpers, anything else) I can't show this to kids in the South! Come on, white guys, pay attention!

  18. Dong nabbit dudes, whenever that scat plays like at 3:28, I have to start over from the beginning just to hear what you guys were saying . Catch myself scatting as well.

    You guys help me in my social life a lot ,really appreciate the information you bring to us. T

  19. Good stuff. This is also why asking questions of yourself is more powerful than stating affirmations. It's the easier way to hack into your subconscious.

  20. The reason the guy did not answer the boy is simply because it is a very addictive substance…… So they guy is right not to teach the children to start smoking…. that is the truht and no B.S……… LOL

  21. Gang stalkers lack this ability lol lol, as they are poor and desperate and have a lack of understanding people! Thats why have have a poor way of thinking in both terms lol.

  22. After watching this video, i would have never considered the idea of using behavioral science as way to change people even if they do not want to. I think it was a great idea to use the young boys in the video to ask for a lighter to get the attention of the smokers and the negative affects smoking brings. People do not want to change but i think we can help them try.

  23. Wendy Guess’s video on improving life using the five stages of change also works significantly in one’s professional life. Personally, networking is a vital source of getting to ​know others in my line of business but it is something I always have trouble as an introvert. Implementing these five stages is a great way to push me to attend the events and therefore realize how beneficial my outcome will be.

  24. When watching this video stage 3 stuck out to me the most with the starting a task and being unable to finish it with everyday normal life. Sometimes we get to going on things and then lose sight of where we were and we fall behind with our tasks we have going. Getting back on track is always a task when you get to far off key.

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