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Justifications

In terms of persuasion, a justification is always persuasive. Just saying “because” already convinces a person more. Naturally, the higher-quality the justification, the better, but it’s always persuasive to a degree.

There was a persuasion psychology study done where a person would try to cut in line for a copying machine, giving different justifications. “I need it”, “My boss will kill me”, and etc.

  • The biggest insight here was that the difference between giving an empty justification and not giving one was very high. In short, just saying “I need this because I need it” is a lot more persuasive than not giving any justification at all;

Underlying Psychology/Biases

Sub-Techniques

There are two main ways to leverage justifications:

  • diagnosed justification
    • This is the most powerful way. If you’ve done proper diagnostic and you know what the person wants, you can know unapologetically recommend something, which will be a perfect fit;
    • “I’m recommending this because it fits needs [ABC] that you previously mentioned“;
  • Any other justification
    • For lack of a targeted justification, just giving an empty one will persuade to an extent;
    • “I’m recommending this because it works”;
    • “I’m recommending this because it’s good”;

Examples

  • “It’s just that I need it”
    • Sometimes, a person will ask for something, and the other one will say no;
    • And then the person will say something as, “Oh, I was just asking because I need it”, or similar, as if that would change things;
      • And well, it can!;
  • Based on preference
    • Nowadays, we have customised and tailored recommendations from many algorithms and software services;
    • These sound very effective because they seem recommendations tailored to just us;
  • “Let me tell you why”
    • Whenever you’re trying to convince someone and you ask to stop for a moment just to tell them why you’re doing it, you’re leveraging a justification;

Commercial/Known Uses

Key Takeaways

  • Any type of justification will make something more persuasive to the other side. There are multiple types you can leverage;
    • Naturally, a diagnosed justification is your best bet. If it truly fits what the person wants, that is the best-case scenario;
    • If you don’t have anything else, simply use an empty one. “I’m recommending this because it works”. It will convert people to a degree;
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