Twenty ways to get people to take action

True to what I wrote yesterday, here are twenty ways to get people to take action. Enjoy.

  1. Point a gun on their head. The easiest and most effective way is to raise the stakes so high, that they can’t NOT do it. They won’t like it but it gets the job done.
  2. Give them money. Yes, money talks. It’s not as effective as the gun on their head method but at least they won’t hate you as much. Also, this method is known to backfire depending on the circumstances.
  3. Do what Tom Sawyer did and trick them to want to do it. Might not be easy depending on what action it is but there’s probably a way.
  4. Tell them that their neighbors or people they care about are taking action. Similar to the results of a study done by the University of Exeter, they found that people use less energy (gas and electricity) if they believe their neighbors do as well.
  5. Persuade them to take action. It sounds simple but how do you do that? By becoming a master persuader. That’s a term I learned recently from famous cartoonist Scott Adam, creator of Dilbert, in his book Win Bigly. Which reminds me, I ought to write about that book in a separate blog post after I finished it.
  6. Appeal to their moral beliefs. Show them that it’s the right thing to do.
  7. Appeal to their religious belief. That’s another possible approach.
  8. Use logic and numbers to get them to want to take action. Again, this method can backfire easily as people tend to believe only the facts that support their conclusion.
  9. Get to the root cause of why they don’t want to take action and solve that. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to come up with one excuse after another on why we don’t or can’t do something. Still worth a try though.
  10. Perhaps if the action is too big of a step, break it down into easy bite-size steps and start from there. Sometimes, the hard part is simply starting. Once they got started, momentum will naturally follow and they will take action.
  11. Get them interested. Appeal to their curiosity and make them want to take action. Give them a strong reason why would want to do it.
  12. Create a tribe of people who take that specific action and get them to join. Often, it will be enough to get them started.
  13. Hypnosis? Can’t hurt to try but it’ll probably backfire.
  14. Constantly remind them and plant the idea in their head. Eventually, the idea will grow and they will naturally take action.
  15. Or, simply pester them endlessly and hope that they’ll take action instead of reporting you to the police.
  16. Play the ‘favor’ card. Probably not sustainable in the long run but could work as a short-term solution.
  17. Give up and try getting someone else to take action. In some cases, this would be the wiser thing to do. Or perhaps you could just do it yourself.
  18. Realize that not everyone agrees with what you say. Perhaps we shouldn’t be trying to get others to do the things they don’t want to do, even if it’s in their job description. They deserve to be free, they deserve to be able to do what they want, and perhaps they even deserve your respect for that.
  19. Close your eyes and pray that the problem will take care of itself. Best case, the problem goes away and nobody has to do anything. Worse case, nothing happens.
  20. Maybe the solution isn’t to get people to do the action. Maybe it’s to adapt the action to fit the people so they will want to do it. Now that’s hard, it’s a completely different approach and will require some creative thinking to get there.

You’d probably notice that the quality of my ideas is like a U-shaped curve. The earlier ideas were somewhat okay and predictable, the worst ideas were in the middle, and the more unconventional ideas are towards the end.

That’s the general progression I’m experiencing. All the common ideas come first and once I’m out of those, I’ll start coming up with bad ideas. Eventually, I’ll come up with something creative or unexpected. Give it a try yourself!

Anyway, I hope you found this list useful, or at least, somewhat entertaining.

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