I just watched a Google Talk by Steve J. Martin describing ways in which small changes can produce big effects in persuading and influencing others. Communicating positive social norms seems to be important.
One example is HM Revenue & Customs, the UK’s tax authority, which wanted more citizens to pay their taxes on time. Rather than threats and television campaigns, it added a line to its letters. Appealing to herd mentality, it said a large number of people pay before the deadline. The result? Eighty-six per cent of respondents paid on time compared with 57 per cent the previous year. (Source: FT)
I’m thinking about how I can use this to help me get through NaNoWriMo. I’m going to try participating more in the forums, mixing with others who are trying to hit their targets. I was quite solitary in my last few attempts, and didn’t make it through to the end.
I’ll tell you in a month whether this change of practice helps me keep the momentum going. And in the meantime I’ll keep telling myself that it’s normal. Totally normal. Everyone does it.
BTW Steve’s book, which he co-wrote with Noah Goldstein and Robert Cialdini is “The small BIG: small changes that spark big influence“.