It’s likely that you have heard the saying, “It’s better to give than to receive.” While, if you’re a speaker, writer, or someone with an important message to share, putting this well-worn phrase into action may be exactly what is needed to take you to the next level of your communication journey.
Here are five reasons why giving to others may be the best thing that you do for yourself this year!
1) When communicators give, their message gets heard.
Years ago, I served as the assistant children’s pastor at a large church in San Diego. As a seminary student and associate children’s pastor, I was enthusiastic about sharing my message with others. The only problem was that I didn’t have many people who were ready and willing to hear me speak. Fortunately, my mentor─who was a both a children’s pastor and semi-professional magician─was incredibly skilled in the art of speaking and in using magic tricks as a means of directing children’s attention toward positive values.
I quickly latched on to his creative teaching style and was incredibly eager to try it out. I began offering to speak whenever and where ever the opportunity arose. Because of my willingness to speak for free, the doors opened wide. I soon found myself presenting at churches, vacation Bible schools, summer camps, school chapels, after school programs, and even at Children’s Hospital. The response was truly incredible!
2) When communicators give, they expand their circle of influence.
The more I spoke, the more relationships I made. Through these speaking engagements I met lifelong friends, acquaintances, and networkers who supported me in setting up additional speaking engagements. The more I spoke, the larger my circle of influence became.
3) When speakers give, they hone their craft.
Not only did these speaking opportunities lead to more opportunities, they also allowed me to refine my skills. By speaking as often as I could, I reaped the benefit of becoming a stronger communicator. Malcolm Gladwell estimates that it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become an expert at any given craft. Those desiring to become proficient communicators would be wise to jump at most any opportunity that presents itself (at least initially).
4) When communicators give, it eventually leads to receiving.
Yep, there is a selfish reason to give. I began speaking because I loved to speak. However, getting paid for it quickly became a fun, added bonus. And it wasn’t long before I began getting paid often. Some organizations offered compensation outright, while others secretly blessed me with a check on the way out. Many times what I was unexpectedly gifted was far more than I would have requested had I insisted on setting a price upfront. I quickly discovered that giving without requiring anything in return has major benefits.
5) Giving feels good!
While it’s true that I began receiving monetary compensation for the majority of speaking engagements, it is also true that sometimes I spoke without getting paid. Yet, these speaking engagements left me feeling especially good. I loved seeing the smiles on the kid’s faces, hearing the laughter during the show, and knowing that I was passing on positive values. A final selfish reason to give is that it feels great!
Giving is perhaps the most selfish, unselfish thing that we can do. For new communicators, giving is a must. In fact, as a new author, I’m currently rediscovering the power of giving. When I began writing my first book, I worked with a publisher who recommended that I not put out my book in e-book format. He expressed concern that doing so would allow the book to be easily copied and distributed. His suggestion was that I careful guard my “product” for paying customers. While I learned much from him, ultimately, I’m glad that he and I made the decision to part ways early on.
After finishing my book, I quickly discovered that building an audience is just as difficult as the writing process. Because of this, I decided to do something that would have caused my initial publisher to cringe─I made the decision to give the book away. The results were astounding! I went from having sales that I could count on my fingers and toes, to having over 4,500 downloads within a period of three days. And after this, my book began to sell. Although it didn’t sell millions of copies, it did sell consistently. In fact, I sold at least one copy a day for the next two weeks straight.
As a result of giving my book away, I’ve made some fantastic new connections, had a lot of fun, and had the privilege of sharing what I believe is an extremely valuable message with others. And to top it all off, giving felt really good.
I share these results as a case study of what happens when communicators freely give to others. Free is powerful. Free helps others and it helps us, too. If you’re a communicator who is looking to hone his or her craft this year, but are having trouble building momentum, I would highly recommend trying an experiment by offering your services free of charge. I for one am completely convinced that free can help you spread your message, expand your circle of influence, hone your craft, jump-start opportunities for getting paid, and help you feel great about what you do!
Of course, I wouldn’t encourage you to do anything that I’m not willing to do myself. So, if you missed my first book giveaway, please feel free to take this opportunity to download, “Coffee Shop Inspirations, Simple Strategies for Building Dynamic Leadership and Relationships” absolutely free. The book will be free this Friday and Saturday (Feb 20-21), and you can get your copy of “Coffee Shop Conversations” by clicking here.
Finally, I’d love to know how I can help you on your communication journey. Do you have a message that you would like to get out to others?─this message could be by book, video, blog, etc. Are you considering trying this experiment of free? If so, how can I help? While it’s true that I love writing about communication, I’d also be honored to partner with you in getting your message to others. Just leave a comment, e-mail, tweet, etc. and give me some ideas on how I can help. It would be an honor to partner with you on your journey this year.