The Power of Verbal Agreement
Get Them to Verbally Commit
When trying to get someone to agree to complying to your terms one good method is to get them to verbally commit to what they agreed to. The strategy might sound something like this:
You: “Suzy, so if I let you get a drink of water then, you’ll go to bed? Is that right?”
You: “Just so I know you have it, can you repeat back to me what I said?”
Suzy: “If you let me get a drink of water, I’ll go to bed.”
You: “Ok then, we have a deal.”
If you think that sounded a bit condescending, good, I agree with you. So, how can we get someone to verbally commit without talking down to them? Easy, try it this way:
(After debating and negotiating about getting a glass of water and going to bed.)
You: “Suzy, just so I understand you, could you please explain to me one more time what you are proposing?”
Suzy: “I said if you let me get a drink of water, then I’ll go straight to bed.”
You: “Ok, it sounds like we have an agreement then.”
Another way of getting verbal buy-in is by simply asking them and getting them to agree. Often a simple yes is sufficient to gain the leverage needed while negotiating. If you treat them like a child and talk down to them, you could escalate the level of conflict and cause an argument. If they don’t do as you agreed, then you can remind them of your former conversation. As you work it out, keep your cool (baseline) and then calmly ask them to repeat back to you what the deal is. You can add something like this: “Just so I know we’re on the same page could you repeat to me what we agreed to?” Remember, don’t argue with them. Verbally out maneuver them.
Here’s an example:
You: “So, Suzy, if I let you get a drink of water, then you’ll go to bed. Is that what I’m hearing?”
You: “Ok, we’re good to go then.”
(Suzy gets her drink, but doesn’t go to bed.)
You: “Suzy, I see you’re not in bed yet. That wasn’t our deal.”
Suzy: “I didn’t say that I’d go straight to bed.”
(Remember, stay calm and don’t argue with her! Also, this example illustrates that you are giving her another chance.)
You: “Well Suzy, we had an agreement and you didn’t do as you said you were going to."
Suzy: “Yes, I did. I didn’t say I was going STRAIGHT to bed.”
You: “Suzy, I’m not going argue with you over it. Is there anything that I can say that’s going to get you to work with me tonight?”
Suzy: “Ok, I’ll go.”
You: “Just so we’re on the same page Suzy. What did we agree on?”
Do you get the idea?
This is a powerful tool. Keep a good tone. Be tactful, firm but respectful as you agree on a new social contract.
All the best,