7.01.2009

Yes or No

When the girls were toddlers they were, well, typical toddlers. When overwhelmed with too many decisions, they’d either collapse into a crying heap on the floor or simply ignore you in hopes you’d disappear and leave them alone to watch The Wiggles in peace.


That’s when I figured out my trick question that has served me well ever since: yes or no? So here’s how it goes:

Do you want to have milk with dinner, yes or no? Would you like to wear your favorite pink shirt today, yes or no? Would you like to read a book now, yes or no?


This little question eliminates the need for much thinking, you either DO or you DO NOT. This took a lot of guesswork out of situations not requiring any real thought. It continues to serve me well now that the girls are older. For example:

Is your room clean, yes or no? (Feel free to keep saying “yes or no?” while they offer multiple caveats and explanations for why their room is not clean. Eventually they break down and give you the only answer you are looking for: yes or no.)

Would you like to retain the right to play the Wii, yes or no? (When the affirmative answer presents itself, it is followed up with a “then quit arguing with your sister.”)

It is equally effective with adults. For example, just last week I posed the question to my sister: “Do you want a glass of wine, yes or no?” while I stood with bottle of white wine tipped precariously over the top of a wine glass. She shrieked yes quickly, more because she felt the pressure to answer versus really wanting a glass of wine. See how effective this is? Another tip: saying “yes or no” quickly and a little louder than you normally talk in polite company while simultaneously raising your eyebrows to your hairline elicits the response you want approximately 97 percent of the time.

It is such an effective way to get folks into action-oriented mode, my extended family has adopted this in a semi-joking manner. At our upcoming beach trip, I’d be willing to bet I hear “yes or no?” a million times, and it won’t just be me saying it. Just call me a trendsetter.

Go ahead, try it. Follow up those easy questions with “yes or no?” You’ll either get a commitment, or know you need to move to plan “B.”


Now, did you enjoy this blog post, yes or no?

1 comment:

Rebecka said...

yes. Good tip - both for parenting and professionally. I had previously read a similar idea in a sales book to follow a question with "or no"?