An effective method of gaining compliance from a random group of people was demonstrated by Gueguen and Pascual, which they go on to describe in their thesis in a 2002 publication of a well-known psychology magazine. One of their experiments basically involved them walking up to individuals roaming all by themselves in a shopping mall. And they would ask the person if he had a few coins to spare for a bus ride. Immediately thereafter, it would be followed up with a statement, “But you are free to accept or refuse”.
The findings of the experiment showed that under controlled conditions, the subject was twice more likely to accept the request. This is what BYAF or But, You Are Free technique is about. This is in fact a confirmation of ‘Psychological Reactance theory’ which was proposed way back in 1966. The theory goes to define how a person harbors natural perception about his or her freedom to say ‘no’. Therefore, by offering him or her a choice to refuse reduces the perceived threat to said freedom, and thus enables the person to confirm more readily.
This was an example of one study, whereas a total of 42 studies have been done on the BYAF technique of compliance gathering. And a meta-analysis reveals that it is indeed an effective means of gaining compliance, regardless of the type of request made. However, the effectiveness of compliance reduces when the decision to enact upon the target’s behavior was not done immediately.
The effects of the BYAF technique have been extensively used in fund raising events and call to action circulars over the years. With fund raisers, the main requirement is for somebody to donate funds for a cause that he or she may not hold dear. However, by utilizing the BYAF technique effectively, the chances of donation increase drastically. Furthermore, the BYAF technique is much simpler and elemental in its execution as it requires timing and understanding of the target audience more than anything else.