Have you heard of the of the reciprocity principle in social psychology?
It’s a social rule that says people give back what they receive, it was popularized by Robert Cialdini in his book Influence. Everyone has been in that type of situation.
When you feel obligated to invite that annoying colleague for your birthday, it’s because he/she invited you as well. And you feel like you have to return the favor, right?
Reciprocity is a common technique used by marketers. It’s about giving with the expectation that you get something back.
Altruism is different. Which is basically giving for the sake of giving. You don’t expect anything in return.
And then there’s reciprocal altruism (originally a term from evolutionary biology), which is what most thought leaders use. People have different terms for it.
For example, Gary Vaynerchuk calls it Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook.
The principle goes like this: Give, give, give, ask.
I like that principle for 2 reasons.
- Giving is an excellent way to demonstrate your expertise and skills. That makes it easier for people to hire you or buy your products.
- Giving is a win-win situation.
The first point is straightforward. You don’t buy my course after you’ve read just one article. It’s only after you’ve read multiple articles, watched a video, and read my emails that you consider to purchase it.
Similarly, you don’t ask someone to sleep with you on the first date, right?
The second point is often overlooked. When I write articles, It’s not only about marketing or giving, it’s also a way to improve my skills.
It’s a true win-win situation. You get a free article with value. And I improve my thinking, analyzing, and writing skills.
That’s why Seth Godin recommends everyone to blog. I agree.
No matter what you do, there’s one thing you always want to keep in mind. I learned this from my mentor: Life is business.
So always remember why you do what you do.
- Do you blog to get more freelancing clients?
- Do you do free consulting because you want to get into a new market?
- Do you work for free because you want to learn more?
There has to be a reason behind what you do. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
That’s also a basic idea I learned from Pragmatism (my favorite philosophy).
Never forget that nothing in life will happen by itself.
You can’t assume people will always give back. After you give, give, give: Ask.
- If you want a promotion: Ask.
- If you want people to buy your book: Ask.
- If you want someone to hire you: Ask.
When you do that, you get a great economy. People give and take. But not everyone does that. Most people only ask.
That means if you do give, you stand out from the crowd.
I give away 98% of my material for free. Not a lot of people do that.
And I’m guessing that’s why you’re here. And in return, you support my work (which I highly appreciate).
You see? When you give more than you take, you will receive more eventually. It’s not about altruism, it’s not about changing the world. It’s about creating a win-win situation.
That’s the true power of giving. Try it.