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Learn how to use a Post-It to get people to say "YES"

Anyone that has had the pleasure (or misfortune?) of working with me over the last few years will have come to realise my over reliance on several key props. I have already spoken about the benefits of Haribo previously, but my other main weapon has until now remained concealed.

Post-It Notes, Stickies, Squares, call them what you will, hold a very special place in my heart. If well used, they can be essential in facilitation workshops, project planning sessions, brainstorms, prioritisation exercises, organisational alignments or just about any meeting you can think of. However, there is one use where a simple sticky note can have a much more profound effect or often bigger personal impact than any of the above. In a study conducted by Randy Garner ( Garner, R. (2005 ) Post-It Note persuasion, Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15: 230-37), he proved that by attaching a handwritten post-it note to the front of a survey, he significantly increased the response rate. In fact, 75% of people responded to the survey when it had a hand written sticky note attached to the cover letter and form, compared to only 36% of people who replied when they only received the cover letter and form. Furthermore, he found that the recipients that received the sticky note were far more likely to complete the survey in more detail. In addition, when the sticky note was made even more personalised, by adding names, initials or the works “Thank you”, then the response rate shot up even further. So what could explain this behaviour and how is this relevant to the corporate world? Well, hopefully some of you would have already seen my post about “The Law of Reciprocity”. It is thought that this may be at work in this study. People recognise and appreciate the extra effort that someone has gone to in hand writing a note, so feel compelled to return the good deed. Think about how you can use this simple psychological understanding to your advantage. This research shows that in the office environment, a well-placed sticky note could get you a better response to your survey, holiday request, business case needing approval or request for more budget/resource/time for a project. Or how about a hand written thank you sticky, rather than a seemingly faceless and soulless email? So next time you drop off that urgent request on your manager’s desk, consider what sort of response you would like. Two minutes invested in a handwritten note could be the best two minutes you invest that day. David Stack is founder of Brightfrog, an IT consultancy business with a twist. David has over 20 years experience in the Pharmaceutical and FMCG industries and uses common sense, great dedication, enthusiasm and a pinch of social psychology to deliver great results. (

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What would the remote-working version be? Perhaps a phone call or instant message to accompany an email?

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