Turning enemies into friends: the Ben Franklin effect
Is it possible to turn an enemy into someone who pays you the respect you deserve?
Benjamin Franklin was a founding father of the United States.On July 1, 1731, Benjamin Franklin and his friends, his intellectual members, began The Library Company of Philadelphia. The first free library to borrow books.
He was the only founding father to sign the four key documents that established the United States: the Declaration of Independence (1776), the Treaty of Alliance with France (1778), the Treaty of Paris establishing peace with Great Britain (1783), and the United States Constitution (1787).
In 1736, Benjamin Franklin was “elected” unopposed as Secretary of the General Assembly in the Pennsylvania legislature. The following year, an influential new member of the legislature delivered “a long speech” against Franklin in favor of Franklin’s opponent.
Despite the speech against him, Franklin was elected to continue as Secretary of the General Assembly. He also served the House of Representatives through his printing press. (Franklin’s company secured the printing business for all “votes, laws, paper money, and other odd jobs for the public”).
Franklin chose a strategic path by focusing on building a relationship with this adversary member by taking an interest in what interested him. (Finding common ground with him!)
Franklin heard that this vocal but influential opponent “had a very rare and curious book in his library.”
Franklin: “I wrote him a note, expressing my desire to read that book and asked him to do me the favor of lending it to me for a few days.”
Franklin revealed an amazing result of this event in his memoirs. “He sent it to me immediately; and I returned it in about a week with another note, strongly expressing my sense of favor. The next time we met at the house, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great enthusiasm. courtesy; and he always showed his willingness to serve me at all times, so we became great friends, and our friendship continued until his death. “
Rather than avoid a confrontational warning, Franklin became interested in something this gentleman was passionate about. This technique is used countless times every day by leaders and other influencers.
We all have situations where we have avoided a conversation or an opponent. Are you willing to humiliate yourself to ask someone for a favor?
What if you decided to “tune in” to some of your interests? You may be able to build a fantastic bridge that could last a lifetime.