If you need somebody to back your idea—asking for their advice instead of their opinion is more likely to provide you with a collaborator instead of a critic.


Psychology professor Robert Cialdini has studied the science of persuasion for 35 years and has discovered that asking for someone's opinion makes them take a step back and become a critic when what you want is an accomplice. Cialdini claims by changing just one word and asking for advice instead of an opinion; you will receive a 'significantly more favourable reaction to the same idea'. They are more likely to take a step towards you as they see themselves as a partner who is helping you. Further, if they give you advice, Cialdini notes that '… you get an accomplice', and clearly, a collaborator is usually more advantageous than a critic. In his best-selling book 'Influence: The art of persuasion'  Cialdini outlines many other ethical ways that you can apply in business and everyday situations.