Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com
Looking for a sly way to persuade people?
Are you taking advantage of this simple tool every office has?
Our most powerful coaching tools can often be right in front of us, and we don’t even know it. A basic clipboard can be sneakily powerful. So can a smart phone. But the power of the clipboard, and even a smart phone can pale in comparison to the coaching power of … a sticky note.
Take a piece of paper. Cut it into squares. Add a special adhesive along one border, and you’ve made yourself a sticky note. And a powerful tool.
Sounds simple right? But don’t let the simplicity fool you. A sticky note, the most popular version known as Post-it Notes, can have a significant impact on your coaching-processes. Here’s how, and how I use sticky notes.
In the book Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive (a book I highly recommend all coaches have in their library) the authors relate an experiment undertaken to see what, if any, impact a sticky notes would have in convincing someone to take positive action.
A researcher sent out surveys to people with a request to complete them. The surveys had either:
- a handwritten sticky note requesting competition of the survey, or
- a similar handwritten note written upon the cover letter, or
- just a cover letter and the survey alone
The results were crazy. More than twice as many surveys with the sticky notes (75%) were returned, compared to the surveys with no stickies (36%).
Sticky notes have a persuasive impact — but it is not just the paper size or color, or even the novelty of it being a sticky note — it is also what you put on it that matters.
The experimenter continued his study, and sent out letters that had
- a blank sticky, or
- a sticky with a simple note, or
- a sticky with a simple note and personalized with the researchers initials
He found that the note with initials to be the most persuasive, shooting the response rate up even higher.
Why? The authors relate this:
“An ounce of personalized extra effort is worth a pound of persuasion. The more personalized you make a request, the more likely you’ll get someone to agree to that request.”
A quick sticky with your initials can have a significant impact in getting results — so think about the action you want taken, and personalize it with your initials to empower your persuasion.
Where I’ve used them to persuade:
- On recruiting letters (“It was my pleasure meeting you – MD“)
- On fundraising solicitations (“Thanks for considering this – MD“)
- On workout plans for athletes (“Keep up the good work – MD“)
- On thank you notes (“Thanks for being so kind. – MD”)
- On items I wanted moved (“Put the boat back when done. MD“)
I focus on making the handwriting clear, the words short, and I make sure to include my initials.
So … sticky notes help me persuade, and I also use them to …
I love seeing computer screens adorned with sticky notes. It shows someone who is busy and has found a novel way to get things done.
But does it work? Can a sticky help to remember things? I couldn’t locate research on this — but stickies do help ME remember, and they’re part of my do system.
I put them everywhere, along my computer, on my desk, and even on my mirrors. My do system runs like this:
- I plan my day using the app Todoist
- Items needing immediate action are listed as “1’s”
- I put “1’s” on sticky notes, and put them wherever they’ll be seen
- Task done, sticky trashed
Oh-so-simple. It is, and that’s exactly why it works for me.
Besides the focused planning, stickies help me remember those phone numbers and tasks that pop up out-of-the-blue. Yesterday I put a sticky on my clipboard to remind me to tell a team member she had paperwork to complete (which I learned about 5 minutes before practice), and to remember a lock combination I just changed.
Those two actions, persuading and remembering alone make sticky notes worth buying, many times over. But I’m not done yet … here are a few other quick ways I use sticky notes:
- Organize – I mark parts of books I use for research, to help be quickly find a reference
- Inform – I put on my office door, to tell visitors when I’ll be back
- Capture – I keep a pack in my car, so I can jot down notes at safe times
- Entertain – I read Doug Savage’s Savage Chicken cartoon – he makes me laugh. Just what the doctor ordered during stressful coaching days.
It would be easy to dismiss this entire topic as my goofy ramblings. Got that — but there is solid research indicating a well placed sticky note can help with the processes of coaching — especially persuading.
Is it worth a try? — Yes It Is!
Is there a place sticky for notes in your coaching? May Well Be!!
Game for an experiment? — I Hope So!!!