The door-in-the-face is an influence technique based on the following idea: If you want to make a request of someone but you're worried that they might say no, get them to say no to a larger request first. Although this approach may seem odd, psychologists have identified two reasons why a “no” in response to a large request often leads to a “yes” in response to a subsequent smaller request.

The first reason is the powerful rule of reciprocity. The rule of reciprocity states that if someone does something for us, we feel obligated to do something for him or her in return. If a friend sends us a holiday card, we feel obligated to send them a holiday card in return. To see how the ...

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