Dr. B's Blog

Modulating interpersonal intensity

In group last week (Dec. 6, 2012), we were wrapping up our discussion of the Interpersonal Effectiveness module. I left the group with the idea that there's a lot to be said about modulating intensity rather than being over-the-top assertive all the time. I have always felt that it's best to be only as assertive as you need to be - both from an effectiveness standpoint and a self-respect one. (Needless to say that the third of our 3 Interpersonal Effectiveness goals, relationship, will be best served by lower intensity.)

I recently ran across a very brief article about the effectiveness of being less assertive for New York cabbies. The nugget from this article (and I'd heard this before): cabbies got paid more by hinting at higher tips than demanding them.

Joshua Gross estimates, that this simple nudge has increased the income of taxi drivers by $144 million per year. Had the drivers demanded this increase via an increase in rates it probably never would have happened.

If it works in New York, it can work anywhere.