Do the Favour First


To be effective as a leader, it’s critical that you have the ability to influence and persuade others.  You need to be a master of persuasion to create changes in others attitudes and behaviour.  And you need strong influencing skills to gain their commitment to your ideas in a way that is ethical and respectful.

So how can you do that?

Much psychological research suggests that human beings are predictable in how they respond to certain stimuli.  Robert Cialdini, author of the book, “Influence:  The Psychology of Persuasion” talks about human beings have an inherent wish to return favours, an idea he terms “reciprocity”.  If someone gives you something you want (or perhaps didn’t “realise” you wanted), then you will want to respond because you now feel under an obligation.

I prefer to call it “doing the favour first”.  Here are some ways you can apply this principle:

1.  Share information or lend a hand to a colleague or manager of another team when they need help.

If you do this, you will significantly increase your chances of getting support from them when you need it.

Research shows that your odds of future support improve even further if, after your colleague or client has thanked you for your help, you say something like: ‘I’m glad to help you as I know you’re someone who would help me if I ever need support.’

2.  Offer something to another business before seeking a partnership or some joint venture deal. 

Doing so increases the strength of the relationship and the likelihood of the giver to receive a larger return later.

3.  Begin giving your services to those who influence how successful you will be in progressing your career. 

Join groups, clubs and organisations where there are “big players” then offer your time and efforts.  If you constantly do so with enthusiasm and commitment, I can almost guarantee those “big players” will want to help you.

Investing in your relationships and most other things upfront, will give you a future return that will often be larger than your investment.

What examples can you share of how you have benefited from doing the favour first?

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