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Benjamin Franklin Effect VS Reciprocation: when to use which?

When it comes to building rapport I know it's very effective to begin with an act that triggers the need to reciprocate.

However, then there is another phenomenon known as the Benjamin Franklin Effect, where you ask someone to perform a small favor for you which conditions them to be more susceptible to subsequent favors (understood in social engineering as commitment and consistency).

Which one should I prefer? Should I try to interweave them both (begin with triggering reciprocity then ask for a small favor) or are there situations where one is superior?

I hope you are keeping well in these times and thanks so much for the content you've provided me with, I'm learning so much!

Hello J!

First of all, I don't see the two as necessarily opposite.

Benjamin Frankl Effect: You Need Some Previous Leverage

In the beginning, when you make the first step, it's when they are most different.
Usually, to go Benjamin Franklin on someone, you must:

  1. Have somewhat of a leverage / power / influence Or
  2. Know the person

When you don't know the person and you don't have any leverage, going BF is the typical WIIFT mistake, and you can see a list of those here in this forum for practical examples.

Otherwise, here is a recap from this website's point of view: I get daily requests and questions on my various inboxes, which are all forms of BF approaches (I ask you a favor, you do it, and you should like me more).
But not only they fail to bring me to action, but they aslo predispose me negatively towards the person, since I practically beg people to write in the forum and avoid emails, but still to no avail.

Effective Benjamin Frankl Technique

If the conditions are present though, the Benjamin Frankl effect is real and powerful.

to work well, the BF that works well has the following features in place:

  1. The favor you ask the receiver does not go against their self-interest or annoy him (asking your teammate aiming to become the boss to help you become the boss would not work)
  2. The favor you ask inherently says something good about the person (in BF's case the rare book suggested the legislator was well-read and high status)
  3. You thank the person and make him feel good for a favor

The last part is crucial. A good BF move does not ask without giving anything back, but gives back an emotional reward.
Thus, a good BF move becomes a win-win exchange -unless the asker becomes a "judge" with his emotional reward, in which case is less win-win, but let's keep it simple-.


Doing a Favor

When you don't know the person instead and/or you have no leverage, the FB effect is harder to set in motion.

Not impossible, but harder.
In that case, seeking a way to give first is usually the best approach.

To make a simplistic example:

Imagine if BF had asked a random person in the street to lend him something that person was wearing or holding.
Chances are that person would have walked right by.

But if he had approached him with cash banknotes, maybe the effect would have been very different.

Thus, when you first approach someone, it's better if you can give something.


Established Relationships

Once the relationship is established and set on a win-win course, then the two are one and the same.

Giving and taking both reinforce the relationship.

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?