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The Surprising Persuasiveness of a Sticky Note

By Kevin Hogan

Imagine that you really need to convince someone to do something, such as follow through on a task. You might be surprised to learn that one of the best ways to get someone to comply with your request is through a tiny nuance that adds a personal touch: attaching a sticky note.

A brilliant set of experiments by Randy Garner at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, found that a) adding a personal touch, and b) making someone feel like you’re asking a favor of them (and not just anyone) can bring about impressive results when done in tandem.1

The goal of Garner’s experiments was to see what was necessary to generate compliance in completing surveys—which are often quite ...

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