Are you always doing favors for people who don’t do anything for you in return? The first favour you did for them was fine – you felt good about it but now you just feel put upon and resentful.
Here’s how to break that cycle. Have you heard of The Benjamin Franklin Effect? Yes, that Benjamin Franklin – Founding Father from the 1700s and the guy on the 100 dollar bill. He was way ahead of his time.
It says that once someone has done you a favour, then they will be more likely to do you another one. And you know it’s true – you’ve been the one doing all the favors, right? Here’s how to turn it around.
Ben used this on someone who was hostile to him. He borrowed a book from him. Sounds simple enough but the effect is huge. Here’s how to do it.
Investment and Establishing Behaviour
If you can make someone invest in you, they will start to have positive feeling for you. The more you can make them invest, the more they will care. This is because in order to do something for you, they have to justify that commitment to themselves.
The Investment can be vital when you’re at a business meeting, conference or social even.
How do I Do It?
Get them to invest in you by doing you just a very small favour. For maximum effect, do this as soon as you can after first meeting them. This strategy works best on people who don’t already have a dynamic with you. It doesn’t have to be complicated – try one of these:
Ask if you can borrow their pen or material item such as a book – it has to be a material object of theirs
Find out what they’re really interested in and ask their advice about it. The longer you can keep them talking, the more effective it will be.
Give them a reason to contact you and then swap contact information
Reward their behaviour by thanking them profusely to make them feel good. That positive feedback is part of establishing a new behaviour in them. Then they’ll want to do it again and again.
Why Does it Work?
Most decisions that people make are prompted by shortcuts in their brain, so they think less about making a choice than they think they do.
The part of the brain that governs thinking (neocortex) is operated by the emotional area (amygdale). That means that people satisfy their emotional needs before they logic it out. So they act on emotions and then have to find a reason why they did it. So once you’ve appealed to our innate desire to be liked (emotions) you change their behaviour because they will then want to repeat the process. Once you’ve changed someone’s behaviour it’s very hard for them to revert back.
How to Use the Benjamin Franklin Effect the Right Way
Remember how resentful you felt towards someone getting you to do favors all the time? If you don’t use this strategy right, then you will have be the one having resentment aimed at you. You will eventually have to give something back or they’ll just think you’re manipulative.
However, used sparingly this effect can have a massive impact on how people see you and what they’re willing to do for you.
Give it a try – you may be surprised.