Talks from the Hart
Everyone has to be a persuader in business. Whether you are persuading you boss to give you that promotion, your staff to change their behaviors, or your colleagues to support your initiatives; all of these situations require persuasion.
Most people can’t determine why they made a particular decision, however being able to identify the underlying factors that influence decisions also means you can use them to get more positive responses to your message and presentation.
So we will look at Cialdini’s six principles of persuasion and principles of influence.
Principal 1 Reciprocation
Reciprocation means that people feel indebted to those who did something for them or gave them a gift.
When prehistoric people moved away from being lone hunters to living in tribes, there was a cost in doing this, as social living involves doing things for other people as well as for yourself. Out of this dilemma grew the basic principle of reciprocity, you should help those who help you. Gift giving and exchange is an important part of many cultures with formal exchanges such as at Christmas and on first meeting. Birthday presents extend the element trust as you give a person a present on your birthday with the unspoken assumption they will give something in return when your birthday comes around. Reciprocity can be more subtle than giving physical or more obvious thanks. You can give your time, information, praise our other less tangible things. The key is that what you give is appreciated and the person feels willing to do something in return.
When you give it to them, make sure they know what they’re getting. Talk about your desire to help them and that what you’re doing is with their best interest at heart. They also about what you can do that is higher benefit to them and lower cost to you.
A non-for-profit gives away a pen with a request to fill out a form to make regular donations. This significantly increases returns.
A sales person does a lot of research for customer, with the assumption that this will make the customer feel obligated to reciprocate by buying.
Reciprocity may also be cumulative. When you regularly do small things to help people, though you may not ask for something in return at the time, you still build up social credit and can ask for more significant help when you really need it. The underlying force in reciprocity is obligation when people do things for us we feel obligated to repay them. The inner tension created in the gap between giving and receiving is often so powerful we will give anything in return to reduce this discomfort. Reciprocity is also is used in leadership, where the leader gives his attention and kindness in return for loyalty and actions.
The only caution is that some individuals..especially those with large egos or Machiavellian tendencies may not reciprocate. They believe they deserve what you have done for them.
We will look at Cialdini’s Second Principle of Persuasion in the next Talks from the Hart.