A personal tribute for the new year

You have moved to a new neighborhood. You are busy tidying the house. Suddenly there was a knock at the door. Surprised, you open the door, an unfamiliar couple is standing with a cake in their hands. “Well come”, they serve the cake with a smile. “We are the neighbors across the street.” Excited, you close the door.

The feeling that accompanies you after this short meeting, the desire to repay the neighbors for the gesture is called reciprocity.

There are many definitions for the concept of reciprocity, which has been studied in depth in the last decades. This is what is accepted in the interpersonal studies: “the other party responds, in a similar direction to that of the partner in behaviors for behaviors of similar functional value” (Burgoon et al. 1993).

The feeling of obligation to return a gesture for someone else’s gesture towards us is a fascinating concept with a huge scope of applications in the interpersonal world in general and in the negotiation arena in particular.

In the world of sales, a technique called “that’s not all” uses reciprocity as a means of persuasion. We are looking at the new cell phone we are considering buying and are debating the price. “That’s not all” says the seller and hands us a quality cover, “at no cost”. This move increases our sense of obligation to realize the purchase based on the reciprocity of the seller’s gesture.

When we come to apply the principle of reciprocity, we must adhere to several principles for its correct application. The gesture should be as personal as possible and valuable to the other party. The more you touch the emotion, the more meaningful it will be. The more unexpected it is, the more the gesture will increase the principle of reciprocity and most importantly, it must be perceived as authentic.

Studies show that reciprocity increases positive communication, trust and sharing of needs between parties.

So, what is the gesture you give to the other side of the negotiations for the new year?

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