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In a galaxy far far away, Luke Skywalker gained the ultimate form of compliance. He persuaded Darth Vader to turn against the evil emperor.

How did he do this? What social principle did he use?

Luke said to Darth Vader, “I know there is still good in you. There’s real good in you. I can sense it.”

Is it possible these simple words could have persuaded Darth Vader? Social psychology says, YES!

Known as a labelling technique, it involves assigning a trait, attitude or belief or other label to a person and then making a request of that person that’s consistent with that label.

A labelling technique was used to increase the likelihood people would vote at election time. When people were Interviewed, half of them were told ‘above average citizens are likely to vote and participate in political events’.

The other half weren’t told this.

Those with the label saw themselves as better citizens and this one technique increased the vote by 15%.

What about a team member losing confidence. A useful approach is to remind them of how hard-working and persevering they are.

Point out examples of previous times they have triumphed over similar challenges and successfully delivered.

Teachers, parents and trainers can use this technique to sculpt desired behaviour by pointing out that this person is just the type of person who could thrive when given this sort of challenge.