Whether you're delegating tasks, asking for a favour, or telling your kids to do their chores, a sticky note can make all the difference in convincing them to follow through.
Photo by Raymond Bryson
It might seem kind of silly, but a study led by Randy Garner at Sam Houston State University suggests that a personalised message written on a sticky note may actually help you convince someone to do something. In their experiments, mundane tasks — like taking a long survey — were more likely to be completed when a personalised sticky note was attached. This could be for a couple of reasons: it draws attention to the task because the sticky note looks out of place, and people want to remove it; and the sticky note is personal, showing communication from one person to another (instead of a random task just being passed down to you).
That connection you establish with the other person via the sticky note, though small, can make the task seem like it's important to you and make them feel like they were specially chosen by you. It might not work all the time, but if you imagine the difference between getting handed a stack of paperwork and a stack of paperwork with a personal note asking you politely, it makes sense. So next time you need to convince someone to do something, you might as well take the extra 30 seconds to write a nice message.