Men learn at a young age the concept of reciprocity – “You scratch my back – I’ll scratch yours" which helps them make casual connections that are overtly transactional, yet powerful, because both parties benefit.
Why can’t women learn this as well? We are great at relationship building, but not so great at leveraging those relationships to advance our careers or build our businesses. We are generous with our time. We graciously give away lots of valuable information and services, but when it comes to asking for something in return, we stop. Something holds us back from asking. Is it that we don’t like to impose? Are we afraid to ask because we fear their answer will be “no”, or do we assume that people will automatically reciprocate without us asking?
The next time you are engaged in conversation with someone and are tempted to give them some valuable information or offer to introduce them to someone they would benefit from knowing, STOP. Stop and think about what you might ask for in return.
I would be happy to introduce you to Jane. I think she would be a valuable resource for you. I understand that you have worked with John Smith. Would you mind making this introduction for me? I would greatly appreciate it. Thanks.
How simple is this? No one will turn you down in this type of situation unless for some reason they can’t make the introduction. If they cannot do this for you at this point in time, make sure you ask for another introduction or favor in return.
We can learn reciprocity too. The problem is we don't normally think this way and we don’t ask.