The Ben Franklin Effect

The Ben Franklin Effect

“To increase the likelihood of someone liking you, get them to do you a favor”

Why does this work?

The answer is based on the phenomenon of “cognitive dissonance”. This phenomenon recognizes that what a person does and how he thinks tend to be aligned. If a person is presented with a situation in which his action conflicts with his attitude or belief – i.e., when action and attitude are dissonant – there is a conflict which that person will want to resolve.

So how can you make use of this, practically speaking?

There is something called the “Ben Franklin Effect”.

Ben Franklin once observed, from personal experience that:

When you ask someone for a small favor, and the person complies, then that person will try to reconcile this ACTION with what he THINKS about you.

The inner dialog is as follows.

“Why am I doing this favor for this person whom I don’t know / don’t really like?

“Well, it must be because I like him/her!”

And… once that person has performed one favor for you, he/she is much more likely to do another favor for you!

So, start with a relatively harmless, simple favor and slowly increase the effort of the favor you ask.

Of course, it does not hurt if your generable behavior to that person is polite and likable.

This phenomenon also contributes to another effective tactic: asking for things with statements rather than with questions. More about that soon!

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