The Golden Rule – Reciprocate

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” Benjamin Franklin

Reciprocity: in-kind, whether positive or negative, responses for the actions of others. Or…as mentioned in “The Golden Rule”, one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.  But, do you “expect” something from others when you offer a favor? For me, reciprocity is centered more on “trading” favors than making a negotiation or a contract with another person. Because there is a sense of future obligation with reciprocity it can help to develop and continue relationships with people. I think that’s why “Word of Mouth” advertising is still one of the most effective tools in your Marketing Handbag.

With good deeds in mind, I am reminded of this story. There once was a man who worked for the Post Office. His job was to process all the mail that had illegible addresses. One day, a letter came addressed in a rather shaky handwriting to God, with no actual address. Feeling a sense of obligation, the postal worker said to himself, “I should open it and see what it’s about”. The letter read:

Dear God,

I am an 83 year old widow and am living on a very small pension. Yesterday someone stole my purse. It had $100 in it…all the money I had until my next pension payment. Next Sunday is Christmas and I have invited two of my friends over for dinner. Lord,  without that money, I have nothing to buy food with, I have no family to turn to and you are my only hope.  Can you please help me?

Sincerely, Edna

The postal worker was touched. He showed the letter to all the other workers and mentioned that he wanted to help. Each one dug into his/her wallet and donated a few dollars. By the time he made the rounds $96 dollars had been collected. Feeling proud they put the money into an envelope and sent to the woman. For the rest of the day, all the workers felt a warm glow thinking of Edna and the dinner she would be able to share with her friends.

Christmas came and went and after a few days another letter came from the same old lady addressed to God. All the workers gathered around while the letter was opened. It read:

Dear God,

How can I ever thank you enough for what you’ve done for me? Because of your gift of love and care I was able to fix a glorious dinner for my friends. We had a very nice day and I told my friends of your wonderful gift. And…by the way, there was $4 missing. I think it might have been those guys at the post office.

Sincerely, Edna

Sometimes people categorize an action as kind by viewing its consequences and also by the person’s fundamental intentions. Do people spread/repeat something you’ve said or done?

Because of the personal nature of “word of mouth” communication product and service information often has an added layer of credibility.

What say you? People spread the word about you because:

  1. Something you did or said was remarkable.
  2. By sharing a nugget of information from you, they get to look well-informed.
  3. They are bored and you have made it easy to spread the word; relieving their boredom for a few moments.
  4. It’s a good way to gain your attention, particularly if they do it online and mention you by name.
  5. They trust and value what you have to say and feel compelled to share the wisdom.
  6. By spreading the word about you, it may motivate you to spread the word about them.  This is known as reciprocity.
  7. They want their name to be associated publicly with you or your brand.
  8. You made a controversial point, which they were not brave enough to make.  By spreading what you said, they get to make the point, without attracting the flack.
  9. You have been spreading the word about them for some time and they now feel obligated to reciprocate. (See number 6.)
  10. Something you just wrote or said will be of genuine value to someone they care about, who needs that help right now.  (This post is a great example.)

So, what would you add to that list? Leave me a comment below!

List Source :: Jim Connolly

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