Have any of you ever declined an offer for a free drink from a stranger, or a free sample of cheese in a supermarket, or free access to yet another productivity tool, because accepting the offer would make you feel uncomfortable? Exactly! We decline because we don’t want to be in a state of obligation. People usually feel obligated to the repayment of favors, gifts, and invitations. It is the honorable thing.
Another insight from social research is that people desire to be consistent. When I can get your commitment on something very small, I set the stage for your almost automatic commitment on anything else that follows. Once you have agreed to a small request, there’s a good chance you will also agree to a bigger request later. People hate to be seen as flip-floppers. They will do a lot just to be consistent in their own behavior. Again, it is the honorable thing.
Repayment & Consistency
Repayment and consistency can be used effectively to gain your fellow worker’s compliance. You will get a positive response to a request that normally would have been refused, if it wasn’t for the desire of not owing you or not flip-flopping. You can get a “yes” even from people who don’t even like you! First, you should do them a small favor that has a good chance of being accepted. Second, you ask them for a very small favor in return (repayment). Third, you subsequently ask them for a slightly bigger favor (consistency). Et voilà, now they’re hooked on you!
As creative networkers, we ask ourselves:
What Small Things Do We Give and Ask?
This is quite useful advice, isn’t it? Why don’t you download these free articles I wrote for you? In the meantime I’m enjoying a free Wi-Fi hotspot, but I did order a coffee along with it, or else I would have felt guilty. Which is of course exactly what they wanted.