Last week I hosted a dinner for a few folks in the tech community in FL that I thought will benefit from meeting each other. We had a wonderful time enjoying wine and discussing the technology market. When leaving, one of the attendees approached me to thank me for the invitation and she quickly expressed her surprise that I didn’t take advantage of the event to explore some new business opportunities around my new venture (KidoZen). My response to her was very simple: dinner was part my attempts to fight the “culture of asking”.
The “culture of asking” is one of the most detrimental aspects of modern business relationships. With some exceptions, of course, we constantly engage in business dynamics on which each party is constantly asking for different things for their benefit. While asking favors is part of everyday business, I find it incredibly constraining to nurture a relationship on the premises of always thinking how to benefit from it. Instead, we can really create long term relationships if we spend the time thinking how to benefit the other party without expecting anything in return. While we consider giving a fundamental element of personal relationships, its rarely part of modern business relationships.
A few years back, one of my longtime mentors advised me to devote sometime every week to think about how to help some of my business acquaintances without expecting immediate reciprocity. To this day, I have been trying to practice that regularly and couldn’t be happier with the experience.
The explanation is very simple: Giving is not only a pure way to help other people but also an incredibly effective way to build strong business relationships. Here are some of my favorite reasons while giving is more important than asking:
- Giving makes you feel good: Spiritually, chemically, biologically…you name it…people always feel better when they give than when they ask for something.
- Asking is short-term, giving is long-term: Giving helps people build relationships without a short–term objective in mind.
- When you give, people feel obligated to reciprocate: As opportunistic as it sounds, when people receive a favor, a nice gesture they feel psychologically obliged to reciprocate it in the future.
- Giving allows you to be genuine: Being genuine is one of the hardest things to achieve in a business relationship. However, there is no better setting to be completely genuine than what you are giving something without expecting anything in return.
These are some of my favorite reason why I think is important to foment a culture of giving. I would encourage to follow the advice it was once given to me and think hard about what to do every week to help some of your business relationships without expecting anything in return. However, always do it because is right and without a second agenda. You will find it incredibly rewarding.