On GIVING as a means of communication –
It’s the season of GIVING! Have you ever considered:
GIVING = COMMUNICATING
We say a lot when we give gifts, advice, compliments,… Think about the implicit communication associated with what we give, to whom, and how. Read on to learn:
- 5 different ways we give (beyond gift-giving)
- what science says about giving
- 3 ways to reduce your gift-giving stress!
5 DIFFERENT WAYS WE GIVE
Here’s a list of 5 Ways We GIVE, plus some tips on how you can optimize the implicit communication associated with these 5 giving contexts:
⏰ We Give Our TIME ⏰
- Consider two levels of giving time – there’s what you’re doing (e.g. spending time with someone) and then there’s the level of attention you’re giving.
- When we give our time to people, we need to be focused.
?We Give ADVICE ?
- This was the topic of my doctoral dissertation research! (giving advice through consumer word-of-mouth recommendations)
- When giving advice, challenge yourself to focus on the other person. This means not validating your own decisions, and not just talking about your own experience. (My research demonstrates that when people offer advice about what to buy, they’re often talking more about themselves than the other person!)
? We Give NEGATIVE FEEDBACK ?
- Sometimes negative feedback is a great gift, but only if it’s both valid and important. Valid as in undeniably true. Important as in important to the recipient.
- Avoid the “Poop ?Sandwich” (good-bad-good). Instead, try the SMART framework or (my favourite) the start-continue-stop framework.
- Read more about giving negative feedback HERE.
?We Give CONDOLENCES ?
- As grief counsellor Andrea Warnick warns, “don’t fall into the fix-it trap.” Rather, show up and be there for your friend. Just sit and talk. Or maybe even just sit!
- Unless they tell you otherwise, don’t avoid using the “D” words: dying, death, died.
- Ask your friend to share a story about the person who died.
- Read more about giving condolences HERE.
?We Give COMPLIMENTS ?
- Compliments can be great conversation starters if you’re engaged in small-talk. Follow-up your compliment with a question: “I love your bag! Where did you get it?” or “You look fantastic! You must have had a great sleep last night?”
- Compliments are free! Give with abundance!
image: Unsplash @ melissaaskew
Give with Abundance!
WHAT SCIENCE SAYS ABOUT GIVING
Research shows there are quantifiable positive effects of GIVING:
- Giving social support to others leads to improved overall health in older adults
- Volunteering is associated with longevity
- Generosity is strongly associated with psychological health and well-being
- People are happier when spending money on others than on themselves
- Even small acts of kindness make people feel happy.
- Generosity in the workplace reduces the likelihood of job burnout and can increase creativity and productivity.
- Generosity is associated with longer-lasting relationships.
- Giving leads to happiness, even in young children.
That warm glow you feel when you’re generous?
It’s a real thing.
3 WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR GIFT GIVING STRESS
image: Unsplash @ enginakyurt
1️⃣Don’t worry about buying boring, typical gifts.
- Research indicates that women generally appreciate jewelry and men appreciate electronics. (Check and check. You’re welcome.)
2️⃣ Go ahead and buy off those gift registries and wish lists.
- Have you ever tried to think of a gift that your friends might like at least as much as the stuff on their registry or their wish list? (Yes, so have I!) Apparently, that was a waste of time.
- According to the research, people who create gift registries almost always prefer something from their registry, versus something else. So don’t over-think it. Just buy something from the registry.
3️⃣ You don’t need to spend so much $$$!
- The gifts you’re giving can be measured across 2 dimensions: Substance (the cost or price) and Sentiment (thought and/or effort).
- Research shows that sentiment trumps substance every time. And in fact, people tend to prefer low substance, high sentiment gifts.
image: Unsplash @ heftiba
It really is the thought that counts!
That’s it for this week.
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach
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