One sure fire way to be more persuasive is to engage in not-so-random acts of reciprocity. Reciprocity is the theory that one good turn deserves another. In Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, by Robert Cialdini, with co-authors Noah J. Goldstein and Steve J. Martin, the law of reciprocity is defined as “the social glue that helps bring people together in cooperative relationships.”
So how do you activate the law of reciprocity? One simple way is to ask for favors. By asking for favors, you’re giving people the opportunity to help you. Having the ability to genuinely help someone makes us feel good. So look for opportunities to ask for favors. Be sincere and straightforward. In D.A. Benton’s book, Executive Charisma, she suggests the following approach: “Would you do me a favor? . . . I’d be grateful,” and later, “Thank you.”
The key is sincerity. If you are insincere or manipulative, people will know it. For more on reciprocity, click here to visit the Harvard Business Blog.