Say this to get your way

Getting people to say “yes”—or to see your way—can be as easy as using a few study-proven “magic” words and phrases, promises William Ury, bestselling author of The Power of a Positive No and Getting to Yes with Yourself. Just follow the same simple—and super-effective—persuasion tactics he teaches to his students at Harvard’s Program on Negotiation.

1. Impress Employers With a Little Appreciation

Just using the word “appreciate” helps persuade people to do what you want 80% of the time versus 55% if you leave the word out. Whether you send a cover letter to a potential employer and end it by letting them know you appreciate their time, or tell your teen “I’d really appreciate it if you would clean your room by Sunday.” The warm words get others on your side.

2. Snag bargains by saying “and”!

Want to always score a bargain? Simply say “and” instead of “but.” “Once we hear ‘but,’ we tend to close our ears to whatever comes next,” explains Ury. “The word ‘and’ how- ever, keeps our attention.” So if, say, you’re negotiating the cost of a teapot at a yard sale, instead of saying, “I can see how lovely this teapot, but $10 is all I can afford,” try saying, “I can see how lovely this teapot is, and $10 is all I can afford.” Bonus: Using “and” makes others feel as if you’re a team, increasing the chance you’ll get a bargain 40%!

3. Get others to do you a favor with “because”!

Need a favor? Add “because” to increase the likelihood you’ll hear yes 33%! In one Harvard study, when folks asking to skip to the head of a line for a copy machine said, ‘May I go ahead of you, because I have copies to make’, they got a yes 93% of the time, while those who asked to go ahead without a reason heard yes only 60% of the time! The word “because” lights up the rational part of the brain, leading others to say yes even if your justification is flimsy.

4. Secure a raise with “I understand!”

Asking for a raise? Simply starting with “I understand,” as in “I understand the budget is tight . . . ” and following up with a few contributions you’ve made (such as how you increased sales or solved a specific problem) will up your odds of securing a raise as much as 30%. “ ‘I understand’ is so powerful because it shows empathy, immediately signaling that you’re a team player and can see things from the other person’s perspective,” Ury notes.

5. Create Cooperation with “We”!

Trying to resolve a problem with another person? “Instead of using the word ‘you’ which can sound accusatory, shift to the more collaborative ‘we’ by saying something like ‘How can we solve this problem?” suggests Ury. “Changing just one word changes the whole dynamic!”

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