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The 16th method is request help or advice. You can call this the Benjamin Franklin influence method. Because he gives a great example in his autobiography of how he turned an adversary into a supportive colleague. Franklin paid him a compliment on the quality of his library, and asked to borrow one of his rare books for a good purpose. Then he followed up with a thoughtful thank you note. Afterward, the man approached Franklin in an agreeable manner for the first time. And their friendship grew from that initial rapport. So be like Ben.
First, ask for input, support, or assistance in ways that reinforce the respect you have for them. They like the compliment, and be more invested in your success because they want their advice to work. Second, make it simple. Say something like I know you have a lot of experience in this area, can I ask your, for your thoughts on something. Third, make it easy to say yes. Ask for things that take very little time or effort. Remember to include just a little x would help. And by x I mean, whatever it is that you're looking for.
Just a couple minutes, or just a few thoughts, or just a quick reaction and so forth. In a study on donations to the American Cancer Society, would you be willing to help by giving a donation, was compared to a second appeal that also added, even a penny will help. The second group was nearly twice as likely to contribute. 50% compared to 29% for the first group. And, even though the second group was told that giving just a penny would be fine. They didn't give any less money per donation. The average donation for both groups was the same.
Fourth, express genuine gratitude afterward. In a study with intriguing results, people reviewed and gave advice on other people's cover letters for job applications. Half of the advice receivers wrote back saying, thank you for the help, I'm very grateful. A day later, with the study apparently over, as far as the advice givers were concerned, they'd been paid for their work. The advice recipients sent a message asking the favor of helping them on a second cover letter. The advice givers helped 32% of the people who did not express gratitude.
Now notice how that's already a notable result by merely asking for help. But, they said yes to 66% of the people who did express gratitude. That's more than double for a simple thank you that takes very little time, and makes you feel better anyway. In another study with fundraisers for a nonprofit organization, the group of fundraisers who received genuine specific thank you's from their manager made 50% more calls in the week, 50%. The people receiving thanks also experienced other benefits.
In their calls, they were more alert, energetic and attentive. Follow in Franklin's footsteps. Use the guidelines, and don't be shy about asking for help. And definitely, don't be bashful about being grateful. Be it, say it, mean it. And you'll both be better off for it. And that's not a bad way to think about influence.
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