Reciprocation

In the book I’m currently reading, Influence by Robert Cialdini, he talks about the six ways to persuade each other.  The first persuasion technique is, reciprocation, which is the idea of giving another person some type of gift or favor with the idea of having the gift receiver feel obligated to pay back the gift giver.  In the book Cialdini talks about how the Hare Krishna Society handed out flowers to potential donors and then asked for donations for the gift of the flower.  Though the unsuspecting people the Krishna supporters approached didn’t even want the flowers. They still felt obligated to give a donation that was always more than the cost of the flower.  Throughout the chapter, Cialdini used a few examples of how the reciprocation rule worked.  I couldn’t help thinking about how this rule had been used against me to create an obligation.  The first thing coming to mind is how charities send you letterhead stickers or a nickel to create an obligation. I used to always get a deep sense of guilt when I wouldn’t donate to their cause. A few times I actually did donate but it only caused them to send me more letters.  This was all reciprocation.  Learning to recognize this trick made me feel better about throwing away all those labels because I would feel so obligated to give back if I used them on my letters.  Now I know how to recognize this technique when someone tries to use it against me and I also know how to use it to my own advantage.