Frank Agin, author and founder of AmSpirit Business Connections, uses a true story of growing generosity to illustrate how one can become more generous.
Frank Agin, host of Networking Rx and founder of AmSpirit Business Connections, encourages you to be generous with the value you add to the world, but indicates that you’ll encounter one of four responses to your contributions.
In the tale, Stone Soup, stingy villagers have no interest in sharing their food with anyone but their own.
However, when a peddler offers to share some stone soup with them (essentially rocks in a pot of boiling water), one by one, the villagers begin to share – a head of cabbage here, some salt beef there – and before long a pot of delicious “stone” soup awaits them.
This tale suggests that generosity and altruism are contagious. Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D. and James H. Fowler, Ph.D tested this assertion and shared their results in their book Connected.
120 students were put into groups of four. Each group member was given some money to perform a series of tasks. Members both profited and lost in this capitalistic exercise. Afterward, members had the option of giving some funds to others at their own expense.
The exercise was repeated, with different group configurations. In the first few rounds, no money was gifted.
Unbeknownst to the participants, one of them was a plant — someone in on the experiment. This person was the “Stone Soup Peddler.” At some point, the Stone Soup Peddler started to give away some of his money to others.
In the exercises that followed this exhibition of generosity, the people who benefited from the gift gave more. Even people who had only witnessed the gifting began giving more. These altruistic gestures began to spread through the group.
In business, you depend on others giving to you. You look for people to give you information, and to share referrals, insights, and ideas with you.
But people don’t just give; they are somehow moved and inspired to do so.
As the tale and the study illustrate, you have the power to inspire generosity through your own generosity. Any simple gesture can be contagious – a simple referral, an introduction, or just sharing valuable information. This will inspire your network to give to you and to others.
Building A Networking Relationship: 1 of 7
“How Do I Go About Getting Others To Know, Like & Trust Me?” In the world of business and professional networking, that is the $64,000 question.
One Answer is Never Stop Giving. The Golden Rule of Networking states “give first, get second.” In short, if you want to get things from your network, you need to give to it. Focus on giving to others … give referrals … give additional contacts … give opportunities … give information … give encouragement … give support … give, give, give.
When you give to others they cannot help but Know, Like and Trust you. As a result, the people you give to will want to return the generosity. In addition, you will develop the reputation of being a “generous person.” This will inspire others to want to contribute to you, as they come to believe that you are likely to give back.
This is powerful and should become almost a daily habit.
- Share information with others and they will share information back.
- Give referrals to centers of influence in your network and they will go out of their way to return the deed.
- Help your prospective clients with things unrelated to what you sell and you will be forever on the top of their mind (perhaps referring you clients down the road).
- Be supportive of your clients and vendors and they will “rave” to others about you.
With everyone you encounter, ask yourself, “In what way could I help this person?” When the answers come to you, take action. That will build Know, Like, and Trust like nothing else.