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Rejection 68 – Exchange Secrets with Strangers

The word ‘secret’ has a latin root – sēcrētus, meaning hidden. Can I walk up to strangers asking them to reveal something they have hidden? To make it fair, I offerred to reveal my secrets to them as well.

I am not surprised that I got more rejections than acceptances. In fact, I am extremely surprised that anyone was willing to take up my offer at all. Looking back, I can only guess what would have happened had I not offered to reveal my secret to them first. Analyzing the video, I would bet that the gentleman in UPS uniform was willing to reveal his secret of once being a bad kid, partly because I first offered my secret of once being a bad student.

In one of my all-time favorite books – Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the author Rober Cialdini described the first rule of influence as ‘Reciprocity’, meaning giving something to someone before asking for a favor in return. People are more likely to return the favor.

Learning: When asking something audacious, try offer something similar first. It is a great way to treat people and make friends, to ease the uncertainty for the other party, and to invoke the influence of ‘reciprocity’.

  • rojopaul

    Ohhhh good one. I was trying to think what secret I would be willing to share with a stranger.

    • ada

      Loved this week’s therapy. My secret to share with the world: sometimes I am not as soft-spoken as people think I am. I can get pretty loud if someone has pissed me off after a long day.