70 percent of Americans once gave an opinion in a nationwide opinion poll about an act that didn’t exist. Some felt the states should take care of the responsibility, some felt the government should. (People have an opinion on things that don’t even exist! )
40+ percent of Americans chose the last option of three when asked what their opinion was on how easy getting a divorce should be in the USA. This was true regardless of which option was offered last. (People pick the last choice . . . remember this! )
Sales of jams in a store increased by 10 times when people could sample up to six jams vs. those days when the store offered 20 options. (More choices increase sampling . . . not sales! )
College students report cheating to be wrong in what appear to be anonymous forms. Given the opportunity, even those students reporting strong attitudes against cheating on exams immediately cheat when given the opportunity. (What people say and what they do are two very different things! )
When pollsters ask people what is the most important issue facing the nation people respond with hundreds of different answers that are completely different and in greatly differing percentages when pollsters ask people to choose from a list of options which is the most important issue facing the nation. (People don’t tell you what they think; they select options from those you give them! )
When people are asked about such hot topics as nuclear weapons they will respond with opposite opinions depending on how the question is phrased. (Framing is the ball game! )
From these and dozens of other valid and reliable studies we conclude that:
1. People’s opinions, thoughts, and desires are often molded by the questions they are asked.
2. People’s thoughts, opinions, and desires are often created in the moment and have little or no relationship with what they will actually do or what they will believe later.
3. Many people have beliefs about things that are not real, based upon questions about things like nonexistent Acts of Congress and not knowledge.
Key 1: Most people are fairly automatic in their behavior. They see a commercial and because they believe what they see without critical thought, decide what drink to drink, restaurant to eat at, or tax preparer to use, all based upon suggestion.
Key 2: Once most people choose something, write something down, say something, whether it makes any sense or not, whether it is in their best interest or not, they tend to stick with that decision, regardless of how that decision was made.
Key 3: People don’t like cognitive dissonance. Most can’t hold two opposing thoughts in their minds so they simply pick the thought/decision/belief they currently hold and eliminate the rest without further consideration. This is called the law of consistency.
The Law of Consistency states that, “When an individual announces in writing (or verbally to a lesser degree) that he is taking a position on any issue or point of view, he will strongly tend to defend that belief regardless of its accuracy even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. “
Your clients’ past decisions and public proclamations dramatically influence their beliefs and attitudes. Once a person has publicly said, “I’ll never X, “ they normally never do. Many people make public statements that they have not thought out, that often turn into beliefs and permanent attitudes. The reason is simple. We are taught that our word is our bond. When we say something you can count on us.