Have you found yourself caught up in a sticky situation where you have to come up with a believable excuse fast?
You were out drinking with your buddies last night, and you totally forgot about something important you need to do.
Or maybe someone you don’t really like has asked for your help, or trying to push his work to you, and you need to think of a tactful yet persuasive way to reject him.
Here are 5 easy steps you can take to create the perfect excuse in almost any situation.
1. Be Brutally Honest with Yourself
Coming up with an excuse is just like arguing a point.
You need to know the full story in order to come up with a convincing excuse.
You’ll have to be clear about what actually happened, what was the real reason you didn’t do what you were supposed to do, and what’s a believable excuse you can use.
(Tip: Keeping your excuse simple will make it more believable)
And just like any debater, you’ll need to predict possible rebuttals or objections that might be raised, so that you can address them BEFORE the other person has a chance to think about them.
2. Have the First Mover Advantage
To increase your chances of pulling off that excuse, you’ll have to approach the person before he approaches you.
If the person approaches you, he might have built up a certain level of frustration or tension in their mind by thinking about the matter for some time.
And sometimes, they might’ve come to a conclusion by themselves.
Always give a reason, even if it doesn’t really make any sense.
In an experiment by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, he found that people are much more willing to do us a favour if we include the word “because”.
And the reason doesn’t even have to be entirely convincing.
When unknowing subjects queuing up for the photocopier were asked “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”, only 60% complied.
However, when the researchers asked “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I have to make some copies?”, nearly everyone complied.
Now, the reason “because I have to make copies” may sound ridiculous, but it actually works wonders.
4. Provide a Solution
By providing a solution, it shows that you’re truly sincere and remorseful about your mistake.
This would appease any anger that the other person may be feeling, because if they were still to be angry, they would be seen as unreasonable.
Now, the blame goes to the other person instead of you.
5. Shift the Focus
By providing the solution, you’re shifting the focus away from the problem.
However, once you’ve provided your solution and the other person has agreed, change topic to something totally different, or end the conversation there.
This would disrupt the other person’s thinking patterns and he would’ve totally forgotten about the previous issue, because the human brain simply cannot process that many things at once.
One Final Tip
Like the boy who cried wolf, using excuses too often would make it lose its power, no matter skilfully crafted it may be.
To achieve the best effect, use it sparingly.
There was a quote I heard a long time ago that I think it’s very useful.
It goes something like this…
“Tell the truth most of the time, because when it’s time to tell that one important lie, everyone would believe you”
A Warning to You
This is not about people manipulation, nor am I telling you to tell lies.
However, virtually everyone would have to come up with an excuse at some point in their lives.
By following these 5 steps, you could indeed save yourself a lot of trouble.
What’s your perfect excuse today?
Create one now and post in comment below!
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