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How to Be 34 Times More Persuasive (New Research)
Last Updated February 23rd, 2018

Rejection sucks.

I mean, don’t you hate hearing “No!” when you ask for stuff?

But what if I told you there’s a way to be 34 times more persuasive? And what if I told you anyone can do it, starting today…

Well, there is.

Keep reading…

Every single day my inbox is full of people asking for stuff:

Request for interviews.

“Please share my article” requests.

Marriage proposals!

I’m kidding – that only happened once.

(I had to decline. Sorry, I already have a fiancée.)

But seriously. I almost always say “no” to these requests. Honestly, sometimes even if it’s just a friend who wants to go out for lunch.


Because most of these emails are painfully un-persuasive.

It’s not that I don’t want to help either. It’s just that it’s pretty damn hard to convince a someone to say “yes” to ANYTHING.

Much harder than you think, actually.

Especially over email. But as new research shows, there’s a better way to make a request than sending an email.

Actually, it’s 34 times (!) more persuasive than email.

And research proves it.

But before I get to the research, I want to share a simple rule I have for making any kind of request.

The “Value First” Rule

The rule is simple:

I don’t make requests unless I can provide value first.

I know people say this all the time, “provide value.”

But my rule is even more extreme…

My “value first” rule lasts for 12 months.

Yup. I don’t make requests unless I’ve known someone – and shown my value – for at least 12 months.

This may seem extreme.

Yet, living by this rule has served me pretty well. I’ve been able to build amazing relationships with many influential people all around. This comes with a lot of advantages.

For example…

If I have a question about my business, I have a network of people I can reach out to. A network full of business owners, entrepreneurs, experts, and influencers with invaluable experience. And they’re happy to help me out. Because I’m happy to help them out where I can, too.

Now, I’m not always smart enough to USE my network. LOL. Like that time I made a dumb mistake that cost me $100,000. But it’s great to know that these people are there to help me.

With that said…

Let’s get to the research.

We all like to think we’re persuasion masters. That we can – with a few strikes of the keyboard – make people say “yes” to anything.

So you fire off an email.

“Hey there, I wanted to invite you to my next workshop. It will be a great event and you’ll learn so much. Are you coming?”

Is sending an email the best way to make a request like this?

New research says…


In a fascinating new study, M. Mahdi Roghanizad and Vanessa K. Bohns from the University of Waterloo, Canada, compared requests made by email to requests made face-to-face.

Here’s what they found:

Don’t Underestimate How Persuasive You Can Be…

The study compared TWO scenarios:

  1. How persuasive are people when they make a face-to-face request?
  2. How persuasive are people when they make a written request?

But the study also asked how persuasive people THINK they are in each scenario. The results are pretty astounding.

Participants had to ask 10 strangers to complete a short survey. The first group had to make the request face-to-face. The second group had to make a text-based request.

Now here’s what’s interesting. Both groups THOUGHT they’d get about 5 people to complete the survey. So, about equal levels of confidence.

Is this justified?


There was a massive difference in the success rate between the two groups:

The face-to-face requests were 34 times more effective than the written ones!

People THINK they’re equally persuasive in written form as they are in-person…

But in reality, they were way LESS persuasive than they thought via text. And they were way MORE persuasive than they thought face-to-face.

This is an eye-opening result, don’t you think?

It means…

You may be a persuasion master in-disguise!

But you don’t know it because all you do is send emails. Or other written messages. If you’d actually talk to people, you’d be 34x more persuasive.


What could explain this enormous gap in the results?

The answer is:

We’re able to pick up on non-verbal communication easily. Think of facial expressions, posture, and hand gestures.

I even made a video about it:

(Subscribe to my daily vlog for more fun and helpful videos that will help you get ahead in business and in life. I post a new video every single day.)

On the other hand…

It’s much more difficult to put yourself in someone else’s shoes when you’re sitting in front of a screen.

When people write, they fail to imagine what it’s like to RECEIVE the message. They fail to put themselves in the other person’s shoes. It’s a failure to take the other person’s perspective.

For example. When you email a stranger, your message is going to seem super untrustworthy.

Think about it.

What’s YOUR reaction when you get an unsolicited email?

“What does this spammer want?”


The same goes for your messages. You know you’re not a spammer. But the person on the other end might not. This is extremely important to remember when you email influential people.

But given this result, should you even bother with email anymore…

So When Should You Send an Email and When Should You Ask Face-to-Face?

…or should you always make requests face-to-face?

It depends.

Because you’re right: It’s still a numbers game, too.

Basically, you can fire off an email request to 34 people with the click of a button. Or you can meet ONE PERSON face-to-face, which takes a lot more time and effort.

But be careful when you make this comparison!

You’re destroying goodwill with all those people that say “No” to your email request.

Plus, if you keep sending requests – and people keep rejecting you – soon they’ll completely ignore you.

Especially if you send the same generic message to a bunch of people. You’ll end up in the “delete or ignore” pile FAST.

So what should you do?

Here’s what I suggest:

Always make big requests face-to-face.

Don’t be lazy. Invest the extra time and effort. Remember, we’re not talking about a small factor here…

People will say “yes” way more often. Not twice or three times more often. They’ll agree 34 TIMES MORE OFTEN.

That’s massive.

Of course sometimes meeting someone in-person is not an option. So what do you do then?

Send a PERSONAL email.

You see, I’m all FOR writing cold emails. I think it’s tremendously underused marketing strategy – IF you do it right.

Sometimes email is your ONLY option. The person you want to reach may be halfway across the globe, for example.

However, there is always the option of setting up a video call. So, when you’re asking someone for a big favor and you can’t meet them in person, that’s what I’d suggest. You might not see a 34x bump. But you’ll still increase your chances significantly.

To summarize…

Get your foot in the door with a highly-personalized email. Build a relationship. Then, when the time comes to make a request, do it face-to-face.

Finally, here’s my question for you:

Have you noticed that you’re a lot more persuasive in-person than via text or email?

Leave a comment.

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3 comments Leave a comment

I have noticed that I achieve better results with face-to-face discussions. Apart from the person being able to read your face clues, you’re also able to read theirs.
Most times in face-to-face conversations, you know if the person is going to agree to your request or not, even without them saying it.
About 93% of human communication is non-verbal and that would explain why face-to-face may be more effective. With an email, you’re just trying to maximize your 7% and you need to be great at it to pull it off.
Insightful post.


Great post. If someone doesn’t have the opportunity to invite someone face to face—as I assume is the case for most people—I wonder what you think about making a personalized video to invite someone? That way at least they can see your face and it can, hopefully, facilitate a sense of trust, particularly if the video is shot professionally.

Maybe that’s a step better than just writing an email?

Also, have you read the book YES! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive?

Just started reading it. Full of gems.


The one I use the most is definitely ‘stop” because street sellers in Paris tend to be quite irritating and follow me everywhere in the street to try to sell me their crap.

I definitely want to get more used to using the other gestures, though.

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