What little thing can increase the chance people will do what they say they’ll do?

Have them write it down:

Why might writing down our goals be so effective at strengthening our commitments? Put simply, commitments that are made actively have more staying power than those that are made passively…

The researcher found that the percentage of people who agreed to volunteer didn’t differ as a function of whether the instructions invited active or passive responding. Yet there was quite an astonishing difference in the percentage of people who actually showed up to participate in the project several days later. Of those who agreed to participate passively, only 17 percent actually appeared as promised. What about those who agreed to participate through active means? Of those, 49 percent kept their promises. In all, the clear majority of those who appeared as scheduled (74 percent) were those who had actively agreed to volunteer for the program.

This passage is from the excellent book Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive.

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About Eric Barker