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“While we’re on the topic of reciprocation, allow me to digress and provide two power tips I learned from Robert Cialdini, the author of Influence: Science and Practice. First, when you’ve done something for someone, and the person thanks you, the optimal response is ‘I know you would do the same for me.’

In other words, let them know that they owe you. Second, when people owe you, give them a way to pay you back so that they can clear their debt. The constant exchange of favor and reciprocation builds very strong relationships.”

Guy Kawasaki, in APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur (How to Publish a Book)


Any questions from the audience? Please be sure and speak into the microphone. Okay, yes. The young lady in the front.


Q:  I always thought the optimal response to “Thank You” was “You’re Welcome.”

A:  Think about it. You’re Welcome. What does that even mean?

Q:  I think it means . . . it was no problem? For me to help you out? You know . . . it was my pleasure.

A: If you get pleasure out of squandering time—and plenty of people do—then go ahead and give it away. The truth is, time is money. And you just stole some from me. Any other questions? How about this white-haired gentleman over here?

Q:  Thank you. What you are proposing here. This philosophy of reciprocation. If I understand you correctly, it’s the exact opposite of how I was raised. To the values my parents taught me.

A: Let me guess, they were Christians.

Q:  They were, but in a detached, relaxed way that was more common in their day. I myself am no churchgoer. In fact, I’m agnostic. But I can still understand the value of a gift or a favor, a good deed even, with no strings attached.

A:  Strings tie people together. Bind them, really. We’re talking about relationships. Relationships are everything.

Q:  Sir. I beg your pardon. Where do these tied-up relations actually get you?

A:  To the top of course.

Q:  The top of what?

A:  If you have to ask me that, you must have wandered into the wrong ballroom. The Mediocre Joe Society is meeting on the third floor.

[The moderator interrupts.]

That’s all the time we have for questions. Mr. X will be signing copies of his book in the hotel lobby for the next thirty minutes. Thank you again, Mr. X, for sharing with us today.