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The Influential Trainer Part 1 – Be the first to give…


 We feel are feel a keen sense of obligation to repay someone for a favour, gift or kindness they have shown us especially if it was unsolicited and unexpected. The favour or gift can take many forms, even the form of concessions. This is known as the Rule of Reciprocation and presented as one of the laws of social influence outlined in Dr Robert Cialdini's "Influence - the Psychology of Persuasion".

In other words, if we are the first to give we create a social obligation for others to return the favour. This works in many situations in our lives. Free samples given away at supermarkets persuade us to buy the product. Windscreen washers at traffic lights have us scrounging for coins. An offer to 'pick you up on the way through' has most of us mentally rifling through future opportunites when we can repay the favour before accepting the ride.

How is this applicable in our training rooms?

Recently I ran one of our signature MasterClasses – Present Like a Pro! During this day we explore – amongst many other things! - engagement techniques we can use with our audiences. I explain to my presenters that the very essence of creating audience engagement comes from our willingness to give of ourselves, and share our own stories. Unless we do this first, our chances of building rapport and connection are seriously diminished. The law of Reciprocation at play. I’ll show you who I am – warts and all! – and in return you will give me a little of you for the day!

Here are some other great ways to engage this rule in your training rooms:

  • Send interesting tips, facts or articles to participants prior to the workshop on your workshop theme.
  • Send 'lumpy mail' - attendees to our MultiDimensional Learning MasterClasses receives balloons and other party favours in the mail, with the message "Here's something to transform your training!"
  •  If you’re a training consultant, organise a free event, deliver great content and watch how you’ll get participants clamouring to sign up for more of you in the future.
  • For organisational learning programs messages like "We can't give you the day off, but we will give you a great lunch!" do great things to turn around negativity and the thoughts of non-attendance.

Happy to hear your other ideas!

Tania Tytherleigh

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