“Someday,” warned Don Corleone in “The Godfather,” after granting a favor, “I will call on you to do a service for me.”

Behavior gets repaid.  Even baboons know that. A male baboon will distract the alpha-male while another romances a desirable female. Later, the favor is returned (Wikipedia).

Suppose one day in December, you receive a holiday card—or, even worse, a gift—from someone not on your list. Uh-oh.

You must reciprocate, right away. That’s the law.

But wait.  What if the holiday card is from your dentist, or from someone acting entirely out of self-interest?

I polled a few colleagues: “If my dentist sent a holiday card,” said one, “I’d be forced to switch dentists.”

“It would be more impressive,” said another, “if my dentist sent a threat—maybe a set of broken teeth.”

Sincerity beats manipulation.

Here are three ways to increase your influence, using reciprocity. But remember, your intention counts (unless you’re a baboon):

1) Conflict.  The next time you disagree with someone—and the conflict’s going badly—try something radically different. Listen.

Sound painful?

Suppose, at home, you’re arguing with a loved one. How likely are you to say, “Honey, let’s forget about me. I really want to understand you and your perspective.”

But if you listen carefully, and with an open mind, you create the expectation that, later, the other person will do the same.

2) Feedback. If you’re a manager, you give feedback. What about getting it?

The first time you ask employees, “What’s one thing I could do better as your manager?” it probably won’t work. They may not trust you.

Persist. Eventually, they’ll open up. Plus, they’ll be more receptive to your feedback.

3) Rapport. If you want to get to know someone, a little self-disclosure goes a long way—even if the person doing the self-disclosure isn’t, technically, a “person.”

“How do you feel about death?” a computer might ask you, in an experiment done by Youngme Moon (“Intimate Exchanges”).

You’ll reveal more if the computer goes first. “Most computers,” it might say, “only last a few years.  Soon my time will be up.”

Well, time’s up for today, and almost up for 2020. Best wishes for 2021—may it be a better year!

Tip:  To build influence, model the behavior you want returned, but without expecting it will be.

P.S. Increase your influence the next time you speak. Consider—for you or your team:

1) Virtual workshop—I’ve been leading Dynamic Speaking, a four-session course for small teams. We practice how to get heard, get remembered, and get results.

2) Webinars—Let’s develop a few key skills. Sample webinars: Your Point?; The Power of Presence; Challenging Conversations; Bulletproof Feedback . . .

Click here for all 12 programs.

3) 1-1 Coaching—If you’d like to work privately, and have one or more upcoming messages/presentations, I’ll help you with design (what to say) and/or delivery (how to say it).

Click here for details.

Please email info@expresspotential.com or call 508-879-0934 for more info.

P.P.S. Rather just read a book?

You’ve Got 8 Seconds: Communication Secrets for a Distracted World—named one of the best biz books of the year by an obscure, but obviously brilliant, Canadian newspaper.

Selected by a Fortune 50 company for their book club, translated into five languages, received a 4.4 Amazon rating (218 reviews), it’s available in print, kindle and audio.

To get these fast tips, click here

PAUL HELLMAN consults & speaks internationally on how to make your point—fast, focused, powerful.

For more info please visit call 508-879-0934 or email: info@expresspotential.com or visit Express Potential

© Copyright 2020 Paul Hellman.  All rights reserved.