The law of reciprocity means to give and take mutually – to return in kind. It is often associated with the expression “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” When someone gives you something or does a kindness for you, you feel an internal obligation to repay the favor in some way. This happens often in business networking as people extend themselves to help each other in order to create mutually-beneficial relationships.
There is an even more powerful force available to you when you network with others and that is the power of appreciation.
Definition of APPRECIATIONap·pre·ci·a·tion noun1. an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude 2. increase in valuesource: Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary
The simple act of expressing your appreciation and your gratitude to the people in your professional network can increase the value of these relationships. Why is this? Because people know you care by both your deeds and your words.
How can you genuinely express your appreciation to the people in your network?
- End your phone conversations by verbally expressing your appreciation. Try the simple phrase “I am grateful to have you in my professional network.” Notice how it makes you feel when you say this.
- Send them a greeting card with a handwritten note of appreciation. Don’t ask for anything; don’t sell anything. Just make them feel important and valued.
- Send them a $5 gift certificate to Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks with a short note of thanks.
- Email them a famous quote that expresses the value of friendship or other positivity. (i.e., let someone else say what you feel, but perhaps cannot express eloquently)
- Make a list of 25 people who have really “been there for you” this past year. Think about what you would like to say to them right now. Make a promise to yourself to express your gratitude to them before the end of year. Do so in whatever way feels most appropriate and natural to you.
GOAL for this week
Call 3 people in your professional network this week and let them know how you feel about them. Ask nothing of them in return, only to receive your thanks and gratitude. Remember “People only care about what you know, when they know how much you care.”
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