Why We Hold Back on Giving

Networking gets a bad reputation because of people who expect to receive first without giving. Are they bad people to be avoided? No, they may be new to business and someone told them to get out there and "sell!" They don't know that "givers gain." Or, their sales approach has worked so far and they'll stay with their plan to meet, greet, and get those cards and brochures out there.

But there are still plenty of people who've read a few networking books, seen motivational speakers, joined their Chamber of Commerce, and been around the business networking world long enough to have heard that they need to give first; and yet they hesitate.

Why do they hold back on giving?

Resentment: "Why should I have to give first? Why can't other people do it?"
  • If you want to be successful, you must be a leader. Leaders set the example and don't resent being in the position of going first.
Reciprocity:"What if I give and they don't get back?"
  • This is not quid pro quo, where I give you something and you give something of comparable value back. That's selling. Networking isn't selling. It's more like depositing goodwill into a giant shared bank account. Sometimes you'll deposit, sometimes you'll withdraw, but the individual transactions aren't tallied up.
Fear: "What if I get taken advantage of?"
  • Don't give away the store! Start with small interactions while you develop trust in a relationship. And be prepared - some people are out to get what they can get, but they are fewer and further between than you think.
Lack: "I don't have anything to give."
  • Giving doesn't have to mean material goods. It can be. Giving someone your business is one of the most valuable things they could want. It can also be as simple as information, a referral, your time, or your insight into their problems.
Understanding the reasons why you hold back will help you be more generous. The attitude and the actions we take will be reflected back to us from the people we deal with.

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