According to sociologists and anthropologists, one of the most widespread and basic norms of human culture is the rule of reciprocation. ''The rule is that if someone does something for you, you will want to do something in return''.  This is commonly know as “you scratch my back I’ll scratch your back”.

This sense of future obligation ensures that relationships continue, and that transactions and/or exchanges that are beneficial to society continue.

The decision to comply with someone's request is frequently based upon the Rule of Reciprocity. Again, a possible and profitable tactic to gain probable compliance would be to give something to someone before asking for a favor in return.

The opportunity to exploit this tactic is due to three characteristics of the Rule of Reciprocity:
!The key to using the Rule of Reciprocity
# ''The rule is extremely powerful'', often overwhelming the influence of other factors that normally determine compliance with a request.
# The rule applies even ''to uninvited first favors'', which reduces our ability to decide whom we wish to owe and putting the choice in the hands of others
# The rule can ''spur unequal exchanges''. That is; to be rid of the uncomfortable feeling of indebtedness, an individual will often agree to a request for a substantially larger favor, than the one he or she first received. 

Another way in which the Rule of Reciprocity can increase compliance involves a simple variation on the basic theme: instead of providing a favor first that stimulates a returned favor, an individual can make instead an initial concession that stimulates a return concession. These are described in two variants below:

[[The "Rejection then retreat" variant of reciprocity]]
[[The "Large then smaller" variant of reciprocity]]

!Resisting the rule of reciprocity
The best defense against manipulation by the use of the Rule of Reciprocity to gain compliance is not the total rejection of initial offers by others. But rather, accepting initial favors or concessions in good faith, while also remaining prepared to see through them as tricks should they later be proven so. Once they are seen in this way, there is no longer a need to feel the necessity to respond with a favor or concession.

!Practical tips
# When you ask for something, always start with something big. Move than to something smaller
# Provide gifts/favours to your customers

<<tiddler [[Robert Cialdini on reciprocity]]>>
Sat, 11 Jun 2011 19:43:10 GMT
Sat, 11 Jun 2011 19:43:10 GMT
Six principles of influence