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#Persuasion Tip: the guided choice – improve the chances people will do what you want them to do >

Do you want to be more persuasive?


Here’s a little “trick” I’ve been applying very well recently with a very hard audience to persuade – my two kids.

international-communication TB


When school holidays roll around, I usually try to pause my international corporate training and spend time with my two kids – 10 and 7.


This time involves lots of negotiation and persuasion.


The “trick” I’ve been using is the old guided choice trick!

1. You think of the broader result  you want to happen then…

2.give your audience the power to choose the path they want to take


Both paths lead to a achieving what you want to achieve – and your audience has control of which path they take.


Example 1.


I want the kids to get clean after a fun day in the park.


The Choice:


OK – you choose – do you want a bath or a shower?


Result – either path, they get clean.


Example 2:


I want my son to do some maths homework.

Yes, we need to work on this even on holidays  – especially in “getting back into the swing” for the return to school.


math homework

The choice:


O.K. – you choose – where do you want us to do this? At your desk or at the main table?


I’ve also used.


You choose – do you want one 30-minute session and get it out of the way fast OR do you want 2 shorter and faster  20 minute sessions?

(See what I did there? – the “cost” of having shorter session is an end result of more time on Maths!)

math homework 1


You’ve probably seen this guided choice used in sales and business:


How would you like to pay for that? Cash or Credit?

Which one do you want to buy? The red or the blue?


In negotiation, there’s even a special name for a more extreme variation on this “trick”.

It’s called The Russian Front – where you make one option so undesirable – you guide your audience to choose the option you want. This takes it’s name from WWII when for the Germans and Axis allies –    the Russian Front was less desirable than the other “western” front against the Allies.

Be aware of this more extreme version being used against you.

I recently ran a persuasion session in Sydney for clients facing the old Take it or Leave it threat.


In this “ultimatum” the leaving it and missing out on the deal is often less desirable than taking the conditions (often the amount)  they want you to TAKE.


The countering secret is to recognise the guided choice trick and to explore other options between TAKE it or LEAVE IT.


But, that will be the subject of a future post.


Back to more maths homework!

My son is happy to have control over how he does it.


I’m happy he is doing it – his way! His choice!


As my son and I say after maths homework and getting the right anwsers


High 4 + 1!

high 5


Link: if you want to see more about the old Russian Front trick:

Russian Front tactic



TB international presentation coach




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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious business communication tips.


Linked In – under Tony Biancotti

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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news, business writing, effective e-mail, e-mail overload, cross-cultural communication etc. I like to help people COPE.




One comment on “#Persuasion Tip: the guided choice – improve the chances people will do what you want them to do >

  1. efangelist
    July 18, 2014

    Reblogged this on busy dad to better dad and commented:

    This simple trick can help parents get kids to do what they want them to do! Try it and please let me know how it works for you.
    You can use it in business too – and even with your partners 🙂

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