I first remember hearing the phrase Givers Gain from Scott Allen, author of The Virtual Handshake.
The concept made sense, as all good networkers should be giving, giving, giving, right?
I checked for a good definition of Giver’s Gain in wikipedia… their definition stinks. I like what I found on the Duct Tape blog:
If you give business to another professional, you will get business from them.
It’s as simple as that. If you GIVE, you will (or, I say, MAY) GET.
I think there are a number of factors here:
- You should GIVE regularly. Not just once, and wait for it to pay off…
- You should GIVE smartly. Don’t open your blackbook to anyone who comes along, don’t pass along referrals to people who you really don’t know, be careful who you are giving to, but once you have that confidence, give a lot.
- You should GIVE without expecting/demanding anything in return. This is a tricky one… here are some thoughts:
- DO NOT keep score or hold grudges. Many people just don’t “get it” and once they GET from you, they move on. Not because they are buttheads, but because they don’t know any better.
- Know what you might ask for in return, or how the favor could be repaid. When someone says “Jason, how can I help you?” you really need to have a good response, with a way they could help. Sometimes is stuff that they specifically could do, based on their position, power or relationships, and sometimes you just respond with a “shoot for the stars” goal that you don’t know if they could help with or not.
- Be ready to accept their help, and act on it. Have you ever offered someone help and they did nothing with it? Like an email introduction that no one responded to? It’s frustrating, right? If they do help you, no matter how small, respond and express gratitude. There may be more to come (if the trust level can build).
In my job search I remember an interview at one of my target companies. I really, really wanted to work for this company, as they are the 800lb guerrilla in their space, the space was sexy, and I knew I could contribute and learn a lot.
During the interview all I could think about was a guy who I had met earlier in networking meetings. The job was cool for me, but this guy was the right guy for the job.
I could have pursued the job, and I learned later that they pretty much decided on me (it was mine to take), but instead I told the interviewer that he really had to interview this other guy. We could talk after they interviewed the other guy.
Long story short, this other guy got the job offer, and I was thrilled. Not because I didn’t get the job, but because (a) the company got the right hire, and (b) I played a very small part in helping this dude, and his family, get back on their feet.
I’ve never heard back from him… not even a thanks… nothing. I don’t really care. I consider that one of those “he didn’t get it” things, but I know I did the right thing and it makes me happy to have given.
Will I GET from him? Probably not. But I believe in Giver’s Gain, and “what goes around comes around,” and as long as i keep giving I’m going to get more than I know what to do with.
Have you had any (positive or negative) experiences with Giver’s Gain?