Reciprocity, Liking, Charity and Success

May 19, 2024
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Last week I was honored to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of Dr. Cialdini’s monumental book “Influence”.  Along with other members of the Cialdini Institute, we listened to a host of speakers giving their take on the application of the 7 Principlesof Influence.

One of the things I love about such conferences is the focuswhich helps me think about the topic.  Last week it was Influence and Presuasion and this coming weekend it will be Dental Sleep Medicine, as I attend the AADSM annual meeting in New Orleans, where my friend Dr. Kevin Postol will be inducted as President.  Yes, I love the energy of like-minded people and the opportunity of catching up with old acquaintances, like my friend Parthiv, shown here holding our new book and with The Godfather of Influence himself, Dr. Robert Cialdini.

Back to FOCUS and THOUGHT, 2 of the most important factors in success.  As I was listening to the speakers and practitioners of Influence, I couldn’t help but assimilate my experiences.  While doing so in the shower one morning I had a revelation.  At least it was revelatory to me.

One of the things I have in common with Dr. Cialdini is the desire to uncover root causes.  It not enough to know the what and how, but understanding the WHY is allows adaptation and growth.  It’s what I did while in dental practice and it’s what I enjoy doing as a coach and consultant.  It’s not enough to know the ‘Principles’, it’s important to understand WHY the principles work.  What’s behind their power?

I mention in my upcoming book “Influence In Action” an incident that shaped my life.  It was an act of charity, kindnessand extreme generosity that I saw from my grandfather, Alexander Goldberg.   While this act impacted the trajectory of my life, I never understood until this past weekend WHY it did so.  I now understand.

Simply stated, the ‘Principle’ of generosity says that people will be more inclined to give to those who have given to them first. The ‘Principle’ of Liking states that people prefer to say ‘yes’ to people they know and like.  Same or Similar helps lower defense mechanisms that we act as barriers to communication and compliance.

The revelation I had this weekend was that these ‘Principles’ not only act externally with others, they act internally as well.  Reciprocity and Liking impact one’s own mindset.

I first heard this concept about the same time Dr. Cialdini wrote his first book.  While attending a lecture by the late Foster Hibbard, I learned his 3-accounts strategy.  One account was for operating expenses, one was for savings and one for charity.  Charity?

His philosophy was that ‘you have to give to receive’.  Unlike Dr. Cialdini, Foster Hibbard, didn’t scientifically test this assumption.  A graduate of Yale’s Divinity School, his advice was more based more on Biblical principles than on an evidence-based, proof.  Maybe the wisdom of the Bible rests in its appreciation of human psychology?   Still it worked for me as it has for many.  But now, I know why.

By giving and being charitable, one feels deserving of receiving in return.  It primes one’s self to be open to others.  It’s a form of self-reciprocity.  It’s also a form of liking, as it makes one feel good about oneself.  If you feel deserving and like yourself, you become more attractive to others and their assent to requests.

When others see how charitable you are, it makes them feel good about you too.  The principles of ‘reciprocity’ and ‘liking’can be initiated by giving to others, especially those in need.  Most people see themselves as ‘giving’, and so think of a charitable person as ‘like’ themselves.

Gaining a deeper appreciation of the 7 principles can help influence and persuade others.  Isn’t that the primary role of any healthcare professional?

By learning the principles of Influence, you can fulfill your mission of caring for more people, as more will say YES to your recommendations.

In the spirit of generosity that I learned from Poppy Al, I would like to give you a gift of 3 resources that will help overcome the 3 of the 4 main challenges I commonly see in dental practices.

1. Answering the phone and communicating effectively.
2. Establishing reliable sources of the BEST new patients.
3. Measuring and keeping track of how systems are functioning.

The 4th challenge revolves around revenue cycle management, or simply put…MONEY.

My personal philosophy has always been that if I do 1, 2 & 3, #4 will be the result.  That might not be always true, and with insurance, it’s getting harder.  That’s a topic for another blog…or book.

Click here to gain access to this valuable information.  It’s my gift to you in the hope that you will use it to help me fulfill my mission; Helping others help more people.

To your helping more people,


P.S.  Next week I’ll share the lessons from the AADSM meeting and New Orleans.  Shalom Y’All!

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Dr. Michael Goldberg is one of the leading educators on dental practice management in the United States.

Michael ran and sold a prestigious group practice in Manhattan and has been on Faculty at Columbia University and New York-Presbyterian Medical Center for 30 years including Director of the GPR program and Director of the course on Practice Management.

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