Persuasion: The Power of “But It’s Your Decision”


How good are you at persuasion? We all need to persuade people to our point of view, whether at home or at work. If you’re a marketer or copywriter, your livelihood depends on your ability to persuade.

Persuasion can be easier than you think. Here’s a simple strategy you can use, in four words.

From Four Words That Double Persuasion:

… it turns out that reminding people they have the freedom to choose makes them much more likely to be persuaded. This technique is known as But You Are Free (BYAF). After making the request, one simply adds, “but you are free to choose.”

My favorite persuasive words are, “but it’s your decision.”

You’re stating the obvious, but it works:

  • (At home, you and your partner are deciding on a vacation destination) “I want to spend a couple of weekends hiking this summer, but it’s your decision.”;
  • (At work) “I’d like to hire someone with social marketing expertise, but it’s your decision.”

More often than not, you’ll get agreement.

According to the above article, the similarly worded, “but you are free” doubled the success rate over 42 studies.

“But you are free to choose” works well in advertising copy. You’re reminding your audience that they are free, and that they do have power.

Try it yourself. It’s a simple yet powerful strategy.

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Author: Angela Booth

Copywriter Angela Booth's clients tell her she performs "word magic." Whether she's writing advertising materials, Web content, or ghostwriting for her clients, she's committed to helping them to achieve results, fast. Author of one of the first books about online business, Making The Internet Work For Your Business, Angela's written many business books which have been published by major publishers. She's an enthusiastic self-publisher and writing teacher.