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Cialdini Influence: Tapping into the Power of Reciprocity

Women’s clothing retailer Anthropologie emails me a special coupon for my birthday. My friend’s local realtor brings her a pumpkin in the fall and offers a photo with Santa in December. A colleague receives a yearly birthday card from her husband’s college alma mater… Read more

Social Graces

Recently, while dining out with friends, our food server delivered the wrong order to our table. The dish also happened to be topped with an ingredient of which one friend is seriously allergic. While thanking our server for the prompt delivery I calmly explained the situation. She was horrified and apologetic. We threw in some humor—“Does anyone have 911 on speed dial?”—which really improved things; five minutes later our corrected food order arrived. When we received our bill, two meals had been credited back to us. The entire experience spoke to the effectiveness of courteous, respectful interaction and it reminded me that, oftentimes, kind-hearted engagement just works.

This principle extends to many modes and areas of interaction. Minding your manners in the digital space is critical, but that’s often underestimated, unconsidered, or just plain forgotten. Some people seem to forget courtesy when the face-to-face aspect of connection isn’t part of the equation.

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