Part II: Requests For Favors in International Business

Rhetorical questions (statements posed as questions with obvious answers that readers can be expected to provide) that are relevant to the favor you’re seeking often work in request letters.  A conservation committee collected $120,000 to preserve the last woodland within the city limits with this opening: “Will your children have to drive thirty miles to take a walk in the woods?”  The Marketing Analysts Translations convinced fifty company presidents to release organizational correspondence with this question: “Why do so many of the messages we send get unexpected results?”  A computer retailer persuaded more than a thousand residents to fill out a computer-interest survey by asking: “What do you hate most about computers?”  Although seemingly inappropriate, “hate” was an excellent word choice.  After some respondents had vented their hatred of computers, they gave some valuable suggestions for marketing computers in their area.  Finally, a psychologist prompted 500 college students to respond to her questionnaire by stimulating their curiosity with this question: “Is there a difference in intellect based on sex”

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