Generosity is highly valued in every culture, and the culture of conferencing is no exception. Offering guests a token of appreciation provides the recipient with:
- a feeling of affection for the host
- a reminder of your time together
- a useful item with value that lasts much longer than the event itself
But there’s one more reason gifting is so important for hosts. In the marketing world, it’s called “The Principle of Reciprocity,” a term made famous by Robert Cialdini in his famous 1984 marketing book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.” (link at the end of this post)
Cialdini, then a University of Arizona professor of business, said humans are hard-wired to reciprocate when given a gift or a compliment.
As humans, we generally aim to return favors, pay back debts, and treat others as they treat us. According to the idea of reciprocity, this can lead us to feel obliged to offer concessions or discounts to others if they have offered them to us. This is because we’re uncomfortable with feeling indebted to them. – Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion
In a previous post, we discussed the many ways to share conference data with attendees – all gifting involving a physical object that indexes conference content. But there was one exception – the cloud. A USB jump drive, a CD and a book are all great gifts to offer attendees. Those items are obviously relevant and fit neatly in Cialdini’s Principle of Reciprocity.
But what if your conference uses the cloud as a repository for conference data? Nobody wants to receive a link as a gift. Of course, the information is, perhaps, more easily accessible on the cloud because visitors can use a mobile phone or tablet to read conference data. Both those devices lack USB ports or CD drives.
But don’t fret that the cloud limits you to sharing a link. The lack of USB Drive, CD disk or printed book can free you up for more creative and more memorable gifts that will certainly inspire reciprocity among your conference attendees.
Last month, Mira Project Manager Brad Phillips was on site at the International Solid State Circuit Conference in San Francisco and brought back some cool and useful conference gifts that serve as alternatives to memory sticks, CDs and Books.
Mira put together a little slide show highlighting the ingenuity and generosity of the ISSCC 2015 organizers. We love that handy charger!