Following the Reciprocity rules


When you hold the door open for me I say thank you …. I’ll do the same for you

When you leave me out in traffic I acknowledge it …. I’ll do the same for you

When you recommend me or pass me a business lead I thank you … I’ll do the same for you

We pretty much understand how these things work in the ‘real world‘ and we know we should thank and reciprocate where possible.

When these ‘rules‘ aren’t followed it reflects badly on whoever breaks them.

Last time I do a favour for them” you might say to yourself

When someone connects with you or shares a post of yours on LinkedIn say thank you and do the same for them when you get a chance.

When someone retweets something for you acknowledge it and do the same for them when it’s appropriate.

From my experience too many people treat the online world different to the offline world and they forget the normal common courtesies and very quietly they are doing their reputations damage bit by bit.

The rules of reciprocity are powerful (check out Robert Cialdini’s work on the topic) and can work for you or against you.

A favour deserves a thank you and a favour should be reciprocated whenever possible.

Offline or online …. That shouldn’t matter, it’s all your reputation.

Greg Canty is a partner of Fuzion

Fuzion offer Social Media Consultancy and Training in Dublin and Cork

4 Responses to “Following the Reciprocity rules”

  1. audreymcsweeney Says:

    Everyone reading this Greg is frantically thinking back ‘did Greg retweet something of mine and I didn’t thank him!!!’…

  2. Barbara Nugent Says:

    The really interesting thing about this is that you don’t need to do a favour for someone “so that” they will do one for you. The human psyche is such that we don’t like to feel “in debt” or under obligation to someone who has done us a good turn. Even if we don’t like the person who has helped us, the need to reciprocate is so strong that we feel intuitively we must return the favour. The advertising business uses this rule very effectively. Think of “free” samples in the supermarket! I have to turn and go down a different aisle because I know if I taste I just have to buy!! In networking, it is important not to expect a favour for a favour, but dwell in the knowledge that some day, some way it will come back around. Fascinating subject Greg!

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