With budgets pinched this holiday season, many people are thinking of cutting back on business gifts to partners, co-workers, clients and customers. If you’re one of them, consider making a gift that doesn’t set you back a dime, but could advance your working relationships—either near-term or over time. Here are some ideas:
1. Say “thank you.” Expressing gratitude to others for the things they do for us makes them feel appreciated and validated. That makes them more likely to do good work for us in the future. We then know we can count on them. It’s a win-win.
2. Give out compliments. When we compliment others, we can build rapport and create a meaningful connection with them. Compliments will only have this effect, however, if they’re genuine.
3. Celebrate successes. Take the time to learn about accomplishments and special moments. Then offer hearty congratulations. We all like to feel important.
4. Share information. Give people information that helps improve their health, finances, relationships, spirituality or other areas in their lives. You will have the satisfaction of doing a good deed, and some day you may receive one in return.
5. Offer recommendations. Putting in a good word can help people in their personal or professional lives. Be willing to recommend others, and they will likely speak highly of you, as well.
6. Show you care. Communicate to others your concern and support. Sometimes we may not have relevant information or resources to help them, but just showing that we care can be a valuable gift in itself.
7. Be respectful. Showing respect for others is a great gift. When people feel respected, they become engaged, open and receptive to what we have to say, rather than getting defensive. Chances are, the respect will then be mutual.
8. Smile. When we smile with sincerity, we transmit a visual image associated with kindness, warmth, happiness,
approachability and trustworthiness, so smile more often!
9. Make people laugh. Humor is a great gift for several reasons. It gets attention—people like to be entertained
and naturally gravitate toward whatever entertains them. It causes people to laugh and relax, and someone who is relaxed is more physically capable of understanding us. Using humor can even make the things we do and say more memorable.
10. Pay attention. Many of us listen to others, just waiting for our turn to speak. It’s a gift to focus exclusively on the needs and interests of the other person.