Giving Great Gifts
To give or not to give – that is the question. Giving great gifts is not always the right thing to do. In fact, a bad gift can do more harm than good. A gift can either enhance a relationship or detract from it.
In giving a gift it shows our intentions towards that person. It tells us something about our relationship with them – what we think of them, how important they are to us, the potential future relationship we intend to have with them.
I often giggle that my mother-in-law has given me a lot of handkerchiefs over the past two decades. I’m still trying to work out what that means.
Giving an acknowledgement, or thanking someone authentically can be a great gift in itself. It usually all comes back to the intention of the gift.
Is it given from love, kindness and generosity? Or is it hoping for something in return, to buy a favour, or to coerce someone?
A gift or a thank you needs to be given purely out of generosity and to show that the recipient is cared for. Then it will enhance the relationship. It is the same with gifts given in business. What you give someone is just as important. A gift can often be met with cynicism if it comes with an agenda. A great gift will be relevant to the recipient, something that is of worth to them.
At RedBalloon we’ve found that more than 50% of Australian businesses give their employees a leaving gift – yet less than 1% give them a welcome gift (and a uniform does not count as a welcome gift). A new employee will feel great when you congratulate them for joining an organisation. It will set the tone of acknowledgement at the commencement of their employment journey.
A gift reinforces our status and supports the basic need of being a part of something important. Ideally, you want to give them a gift that they are proud of, that they want to talk about – that shows that you know that person. I think one of the reasons why experience gifts are so popular is because people get to choose from thousands of activities – something they have always wanted to do – and they get to share it with those people who are important to them, a spouse or friend for instance.
I think one of the reasons why experience gifts are so popular is because people get to choose from thousands of activities – something they have always wanted to do – and they get to share it with those people who are important to them, a spouse or friend for instance.
I remember once in a speaking engagement where I had been sharing how important it is to acknowledge an individual’s contribution to an organisation, in a personal and authentic way. According to Gallup, employees have forgotten within 7 days of an acknowledgement being received. A question came from the audience –“but what if you say thank you to someone – or give them a gift, or acknowledge them with an award, and then a month or two later they do something that is ‘against company policy’ or detrimental to the business?”
At the time I was surprised by the question. As a parent, do we not acknowledge the good things our child does because we know very shortly they are likely to do something naughty?
I have always found that if you authentically acknowledge someone – they feel so good about themselves that they wont want to let you down. People by nature will respond positively when they know that you really do care. It becomes personal.
So, here are three steps to authentic gifting:
- Know the intention of the gift and be real when you deliver the message. That is, thank them specifically for what they did for you, or the relationship you have with them.
- What impact does that person have on you personally (as well as the organization) eg ‘without your contribution the project would not have shipped on time’
- Let them know why you selected that gift for them. eg ‘I know that you have always wanted to learn sushi making – you might like to choose that for yourself and partner.’
We are all busy – but the power of delivering a great gift with reap more rewards than you can ever imagine. Not just because of the way you made them feel.
But the way it made you feel when you gave the perfect gift.