Bryan’s Blog: How are your Christmas acts of RECIPROCITY going for you?

A little while back I blogged about using pull strategies over push strategies when looking to influence and ultimately persuade decision makers in your business (Stop Pushing and Start Pulling – It’s more satisfying). The easiest of the three pull strategies (Desirability, Likeability and Reciprocity) is RECIPROCITY. The act of giving a gift which creates a feeling of need to reciprocate with a gift of similar “value”.

With all the gift giving that is going on for Christmas, it got me thinking about what we can learn about acts of gift giving at work. As many of us run around doing our Christmas shopping we are weighing up how the gift will be perceived. Asking questions like, “Will they feel I have spent enough on them?” And if not, “Will they appreciate the effort I have gone to?”

As Robert Cialdini points out in his Six Principles of Persuasion video, while the act of giving does create an instant feeling of the need to reciprocate (“Oh no! They are giving me a gift and I haven’t bought them one. Aaaagghhh!”), what is even more important is HOW you give the gift.


At Christmas time the “how” of gift giving is often a combination of how it is wrapped, the accompanying card and the personal act of handing it over. Last year my teenage daughter did such a great job she has set my expectations very high for this year. It was not the value or quality of the content, it was the thoughtfulness she showed by the effort she went to in dressing up a six pack of “Reinbeers” (see photo).

The moral of the story my friends is the same as your mother used to tell you, “It’s the thought that counts”. And that applies in business just as much as it does amongst family and friends.

So, keep an eye out for all the thoughtful acts of gift giving you see this year and make a note of the better ones to inspire your business gift giving in 2017. Whether it be for a key decision maker you wish to influence, your team or the team of advocates you need to build to create support across the broader business, be thoughtful in your gift giving. Make sure it comes from the passion of what you believe in, not simply desire for what you want from others.

Finally, if you look to the right you will see my “thoughtful” Christmas gift to you. I hope the articles, by many wonderful thought leaders in a range of fields, will help you start 2017 with positive thoughts and lofty ambitions. Even more importantly, I hope you and your family have a wonderful festive season and that your 2017 goals come to fruition.