Jacky Sherman

The Consultant's Consultant

07970 638857


Networking Skills: Giving For The Sheer Pleasure Of It

How to spread the happiness ...

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Sometimes research backs up what you know as the blindingly obvious, so you've never really thought about it ...

It's a key networking skill to learn to give for the sheer pleasure of it!

It's a key networking skill to learn to give for the sheer pleasure of it!

copyright: flynt / 123rf

I was watching Elizabeth Dunn's TED talk on how giving makes us happy. Her point is that happiness comes from the engagement in the process and outcome for the person to whom we give.

"Our joy comes from having made a difference!"

As she has spent many years researching happiness, I was surprised that she appeared to find this to be new information. Many charities use this knowledge to stimulate giving. For example, Red Nose Day always shows you the before and after shots of real children plucked from the streets and given a secure future.

The charity Elizabeth talks about which led to her talk was the one that enabled her to adopt a Syrian family rather than just drop her donation into the bottomless pit of suffering that is Syria. And, of course, she got to understand and know a real family, so she gave a lot and got a lot back in return.

Now, my reason for watching the TED talk was the title about helping others. I'm always interested in talks, articles, news items and blog posts about what motivates us to help others and how we might apply that in a business sense.

In business, we are not generally known for helping other businesses simply for philanthropic purposes. We're forming collaborative relationships with a view to helping each other make our own business more successful. The relationship is one of equals. So you would think that our happiness comes from being introduced to people who eventually become clients.

Actually, when you talk to people about what they get from these alliances, happiness comes from what they put into the relationship. People often express it as 'making a difference', and here's the important bit, they tend to say this whether they are on the giving or receiving end of the introduction.

Here are some comments I've had in conversations with my network that make that point, usually as the result of a follow-up conversation after an introduction:

"Great news that Linda has signed up with you. I'm so pleased that [ introduction] has worked out for you." Or even more emotionally, "Fantastic, I'm thrilled I was able to help!"

Sometimes it is reminiscing about a referral to a third party such as, "I got such a buzz out of introducing Fred to Linda. He told me the result was life-changing for his business!"

Those are what you would expect from giving behaviours. What about this one which I hear just as often from someone on the receiving end? "Thank you so much for the introduction to Linda. I'm so glad I was able to help her for you." Notice how they're expressing this referral to them as a giving behaviour? That's where the pleasure comes from, not the fee they got as a result.

So, what can we take away from this? Giving makes you happy, so do more of it, and it will make you even happier the more often you do it; and if you can do that and at the same time make your referral sources happy too, then you'll both be motivated to do it again and again.

Here are some suggestions on how to spread the happiness:

  • Find out what the other person needs and identify how you can contribute

  • Let the other person know what you need and how they can contribute

  • Whether they can help you right now or not, do your part

  • Keep the other person engaged in how it's going

  • Make sure you let them know how their contribution made a difference to you and others

Then you'll both have succeeded in making each others business more successful, and that is undoubtedly the icing on the cake!

"Would you like to know more?"

If you'd like to find out more about giving for the sheer pleasure of it, or any other networking skills, then do give me a call on 07970 638857 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.

Until next time ...


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