In his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini lists six principles of ethical persuasion. The first principle he discusses is reciprocity. “The reciprocity rule says that we should try to repay, in kind, what another person has provided us,” he states. And therein lies to key to the oft-overlooked secret to success, appreciation.
Cialdini speaks of a university professor that tried an experiment several years ago. The professor sent Christmas cards to a select list of complete strangers. The response he received was overwhelming. He received dozens of thank you holiday cards back from these people that he’d never met. Why? Because they appreciated getting a card from him and like the law of reciprocity says, we respond to a positive action with another positive action.
How can this help you as you navigate your way through your government job?
When you are in a state of appreciation and gratitude for what has been given to you, you are actually in a state of abundance. You are appreciating what you do have instead of focusing what you don’t. We all know that what you focus on expands. So if you are constantly focusing on what you can do for others and at the same time appreciating the things that you already have, you will inevitably get more of what you want because that is your focus. Remember, like attracts like. The more you are in an appreciative state, the more you will attract to be appreciative for.
I have a friend that completely lights up whenever I give him a gift. I love his genuine reaction of thankfulness to my gifts so much, that now, I look for special things I know he likes, just so I can surprise him. His appreciation for what I have done causes me to continue to give. What if you gave unconditionally more value to your employer and co-workers every day with no expectation of reciprocation? What would that do for your own psyche and for your work environment? There is a famous biblical scripture that says, “Practice giving and people will give to you.” Have you tried that lately?
Here are three practical tips on how you can display this in your life and business:
- Create an alert on your phone to go off three times a day. When it does, take time to be grateful for three things in your life, make time to appreciate three people in your life and look for three ways you can give something useful to your clients.
- Surprise someone. Recall a time when you got a gift completely unexpected, out-of-the-blue, how did it make you feel. I want you to create that feeling for someone else. When you make someone else feel appreciated, you will be remembered. Look for ways to make others feel that they are one-of-a-kind.
- There are three ways in which our brains takes in information, so there are three ways we can express our appreciation for others. Some people need to hear it, others need to see it and still others need to feel or experience it. When you determine the dominant type they prefer, the sky’s the limit.