by Kathie England

Why does getting it in writing matter?

When people write something down, they tend to live up to what they have written. That’s the conclusion in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (July – August 2013) titled “The Uses (and Abuses) of Influence” (pages 76-81).

Putting something in writing seems to make people more conscious of their choices. Identifying next steps is another facet of this strategy about writing things down.

The article is an interview with Robert Cialdini who is considered the leading social scientist in the field of influence. He is the author of the book Influence published in 2001. Cialdini also suggests that individuals will be more likely to follow through on their commitments if they schedule another conversation with the individual to whom they are making the commitment.

This process is about making commitments more concrete.

The previous blog post about visual cues placed on a computer that one of my clients uses to start her day fits with this idea of making tasks and commitments more concrete. Another client designed a visual control chart that not only reminds him of key tasks he wants to complete each day, it also provides him with a record of his success in keeping these commitments to himself.

What could you put in writing that would help you keep commitments with the most important person in your life, yourself?