What is this?
Self or Other orientation is simply who's interests are the focus of our conversation.
Why is this important?
Most people - especially those interested in persuading or influencing others - are usually focused on their own desires and not those of the person they are attempting to persuade or influence. This makes the persuader appear to only be concerned with his own desires and not at all looking out for the interests of the other person - a key (and often fatal to the persuasive effort) assumption people make about salespeople, managers or other "manipulators".
Without overt and genuine attention and concern for the well-being of the person we are persuading, we are more susceptible to being perceived as selfish, unscrupled "con artists" only looking for our own gain. This is the essence of "win/lose" exchanges among people which yield "zero-sum" results at best. Real economic growth is acheived only when "win/win" exchanges occur which is not possible when there is no genuine concern for the other person.
Genuine orientation toward the other person and their interests significantly raises the potential for gaining cooperation.