We have all heard the statement “If you give you will get back” and sometimes that is appended with “in spades”. It starts in grade school with the teaching of ‘The Golden Rule’ (do onto others as you would have them do unto you). There are several businesses that base their foundation on this idea, like BNI whose philosophy is “Givers Gain” and eWomen Network which uses “Give First”. But what some people sometimes feel is they give and give and never see anything back (or at least not what they have put into it.) Here are some tips to make your ‘gives’ really meaningful so that others will truly see you as a giver and will give back.
Give without Expectation
This one is hard because we have been told to expect reciprocation, or that is what many of us read into the statements above, but it is not necessarily reciprocation. When we give we should not be expecting for something in return.
I worked with someone that would give all the time and then spend much of her time in tears because these people where betraying her by not giving back. Maybe she was giving to the wrong people and expected something they were unable to give, but more likely it was that she always gave with the expectation that these people would become or continue to be ongoing clients.
What would have been a better way of looking at it would be to hope that these people had the ability to help someone else out. Then this person would have been seen as a true giver and people would have wanted to help her out instead of feeling indebted to her. Being in debt to someone is a crappy feeling and is a form of payment. Don’t make people feel this way. When you are in ‘the giving place’ the gifts come back to you, often from unexpected places.
Know People’s ‘What’
When you are talking with people don’t be listening for what you can get from them, but be thinking about what you can do for them. It will put you into a true giving place and will also make you a better listen. Great listeners are often thought of as great people. We all like to be heard, so put your listening ears on and focus on their ‘What’ or their need. It will be easier for you to help them if you can.
Make an Effort
Giving takes more time than most people allocate for it. You will need to make time to contact and connect the people you have promised to help. Sometimes I’ve had to make more than one attempt to connect with someone I know but the better I get at helping people the easier it is for me to reach people. When I make a concerted effort to help someone once, they are more likely to be available for me to connect them with someone else. Remember, this is also part of your marketing so you will have to put aside not only time to do the networking, make the connections, and follow up, but also set aside time to help others reach their goals. If you are not putting aside time for marketing each day then do it now. Start with 30-90 minutes a day, schedule it in, and follow through on focusing your efforts on your marketing and the people that you can help.
Share your Goals
People cannot help you if they do not know what you need. When they have put on their listening ears and are giving you the gift of their attention then use it wisely. Know what it is you are working towards and what you need to achieve it. Be specific so they can really make the connection between what you need and what they can do to help you.
Be Thankful and Genuine
People love to help because it is like giving a gift. When you give a gift it is not only given to the recipient but it is also a gift to the giver. We love the feeling of being able to give something that makes others happy. So, when someone gives you a gift (a referral, their time, their full attention, or more) remember that it is also a gift for them. Accept it graciously and say thank you. As simple as that sounds it is often hard for us to accept gifts. Here is an easy example to see where we go wrong.
Two friends meet each other in a store.
Patty, “Hi Sue, you look amazing. I love your hair”
Sue, “Thanks, I need to get to the gym more often plus I really need to get my hair coloured soon.”
Why don’t we just say “Thank you”, accept the gift, and keep the negative talk for another time.
When you give, make it real. Give it and let it go. Don’t spend time or energy waiting for it to come back. Give for their benefit, not your own. Genuine gifts are the ones that create a person that others will want to be in a relationship of reciprocity with. Become that person.
Aside – My friend and colleague Jackie Ramler has a program in her business that supports her employees’ giving to charity. They each get to pick their own charity and then they get one day paid a month to volunteer for their charity. That gift has given her back the most incredible team to work with.