It’s well known that reciprocation is an important motivator for people. You are more likely to invite someone to your party if you’ve been invited to his. People are often persuaded to make donations when charities send them gifts. Understanding this principle can help you effectively network, build trusting relationships, and develop your ability to influence others.
The first step is to give. Don’t provide help with an expectation of an immediate return. Instead, highlight your assistance. Say “Happy to help — I know you would do the same for me.” By positioning your help as a natural and equitable process of give and take, you increase the chances it will be reciprocated in the future.
Adapted from “Seize the Persuasive Moment after ‘Thank You'” by Steve Martin.