Recently we all have had to get participants for our third year projects, and I am sure other people have used this same tactic in getting participants. This tactic is fleeing interaction; A brief social interaction with the target of a request which increases compliance with that request. These interactions can be things such as, asking how a person feels or engaging in a short dialogue before asking the request. For me, these two covered my fleeting interactions. The messages I sent to people to ask to volunteer always started with “Hi how’ve you been?” and a follow up question asking them what was going on in their lives, followed by the true request.
Dolinski, Nawrat and Somervell (2001) found that a fleeting interaction of a brief dialogue before the request increases the compliance with said request.
In one experiment they conducted, 400 female students that were walking unaccompanied on a university campus were approached by female confederates and then asked for a donation. The confederates would either ask with a monologue, or with a dialogue. Monologue “Hi!” followed by the request “I am collecting money for special care children. Would you like to contribute, please?”. There were a few types of dialogue conditions, that did not yield significant effects, but in these conditions a dialogue was formed, with questions asked and the answers listened to and then responded to, then the request followed.
Figure one illustrates the results from the experiment. Between the dialogue and monologue conditions on average, the dialogue condition yielded a 31% compliance to the donation request, whereas the monologue condition only yielded 11% compliance. This result shows that a fleeting interaction of a shot casual dialogue can help to increase compliance in the target of a request.
It worked for the researchers, and worked for me, people seemed more willing to do my study when the bit of dialogue was before compared to people I just sent the request to.
Dolinski, D., Nawrat, M., & Rudak, I. (2001). Dialogue involvement as a social influence technique. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 27, 1395-1406.