• The ‘like’ button is a ‘door-in-the-face’ technique



    LAST WEEK, I wrote about the “foot-in-the-door” technique that is often used by people, although many do not realize it is called by that name. Today let me tell you about a related business technique called “door-in-the-face.” Imagine this: your neighbor, who is planning to have a week-long holiday somewhere, asks you to feed his Siberian Husky that normally roams his garden freely.

    In so many words, you refused and told him you hate dogs, much more if it’s that kind of an intimidating breed. Not to be discouraged, your neighbor requests that at least you could be so kind as to water his garden instead. What would you do? There’s a big chance you would agree this time, because you wouldn’t want to sound so unfriendly.

    After all, from recent memory, you recall your neighbor giving you almost one basketful of mangoes that fell from his tree that also extended over your backyard. And at one time, you hitchhiked with him when your car was undergoing repair. It means you feel the obligation to reciprocate. In social psychology, it’s called “door-in-the-face” technique that is preceded by a difficult request, which is often refused, and followed by a not-so difficult request, which oftentimes gets approval.

    Literally, it means shutting the door in the face of a pesky salesman who can’t be unnerved but gives you a discount coupon at, say, Chowking.

    Now I know why some people who constantly use their “like” buttons in many of my social media postings would use the “door-in-the-face” technique as a prelude to befriending me, and on to selling a condominium unit in Tagaytay, if not ask for a job recommendation.

    What’s troubling is that, about a quarter of them come from nowhere but would just the same seek my endorsement or testimonial on LinkedIn so they could get offers of lucrative jobs or go places.

    Sometimes, I’m amazed at how recommendations can provide a good push for a person applying for a job. An endorsement, however, is only icing to the cake. Work experience, educational background and accomplishments, when combined in one CV, often serve as the trigger for that crucial push, if one is really a worthy candidate for a particular post. A recommendation normally serves only as a small staple wire in the whole process of nailing a job. It becomes more significant, of course, if it comes from a VIP endorser, which I’m not.

    But that’s another story.

    What I’m saying is – maybe some people are trigger-happy in using their “like” buttons on social media as a prelude to asking for some favor, if not to asking some management questions. Getting answers to such questions may be worth at least P1 million in consultancy fees, if done by, for instance, Willis Towers Watson.

    The “like” button is one of social media’s great inventions. It’s easy to use and gives everyone that positive feeling. That’s also the reason why the “dislike” version is not as popular as it creates and perpetuates hate rather than love.

    I didn’t realize until recently that the “like” button can take you one step toward befriending other people, even if you don’t know each other. Try it. Be magnanimous in your “likes” and start reaping friends at least via online, toward a meaningful professional relationship.

    Social media expert Dave Kerpen, in his 2012 book Likeable Social Media, says there are 10 reasons for the “like” button. Citing a report from CoTweet and ExactTarget, Kerpen says one of the reasons is “to receive discounts and promos” and a “freebie” from a company or person promoting a brand.

    In my case, as soon as some persons click that “like” button, I’d get deluged with sales pitches by agents, either of the healthcare or real estate variety.

    How about you? How magnanimous are you in clicking that “like” button? Or do you show that devil-may-care attitude? Now, here’s a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you got very reliable information that your current employer will close shop in three months, due to irreversible losses. You were advised by a lawyer-friend that you’re only entitled to about one-half month’s salary for every year of service, which is not enough, given your big family.

    Not only that, you feel very disappointed because you love working for that company, which has been your home for the past 20 years. Even with the entrance of a white knight, there’s very little chance for you to be retained by the new owner. How would you approach making a decision in that situation? You weigh your options, with the two most obvious — being jobless for about three months or so, or facing the uncertainty (or a 50 percent chance at best) of being retained by the new owner.

    Now, what if the “reliable information” turns out to be unreliable after all, because someone is after your job?

    The bottom line: If you have trouble making a decision, remember that there’s always one choice – to be likeable, in every step of the way. Promote the “like” button as if you’ll die tomorrow, but do it carefully. Forget about hate. Open your eyes to opportunities that can be paved by the “like” button. Anyway, Robert Wilson Lynd was right: “Most human beings are quite likeable if you don’t see them more often.”

    Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to elbonomics@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for his random thought on Elbonomics.


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