I’m going to start this week with a question – how many people do you think you’ve emailed a request to in the last few days? I’m asking because this week I want to highlight research that requesting something face-to-face can be hugely more effective than via email.

The research comes from psychologists at the University of Waterloo (Canada) and Cornell University (USA). They actually have done a number of studies but in the one I want to focus on they asked 450 people to complete a simple personality profiling questionnaire with 50% of the requests going out via email and the other 50% being made in person. (It’s important to highlight that the email text was used as the script for those approaching respondents face-to-face so the language used was as similar as possible).

I wonder how many people you think agreed to the request in each scenario.

Well, the actual results were astonishing.

Whilst 10% of people who were approached via email agreed to complete the study an incredible 70% (seventy!) of people who were asked in person agreed. SEVEN times the amount!

What is interesting is that researchers also measured increased levels of trust and empathy towards questioners from those who were approached face-to-face – a result not replicated from the group who were emailed.

Whilst I should mention that the authors of the study point out that it’s finding have yet to be replicated to such a degree on a wider basis the results suggest that professionally or personally it may be much more effective to approach someone you want to make a request to in person.

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I’ll be back in 7 days with some more Meetology® – the fascinating psychology powering exceptional people skills.

Take care,


Jonathan Bradshaw
The Meetology® Lab


Roghanizad, M. M., & Bohns, V. K. (2016). Ask in person: You’re less persuasive than you think over email. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. doi: 10.1016/j.jesp.2016.10.002