The greatest impact you can have on branding yourself as altruistic is when you do things when no one expects them. In other words, you maximize the amount of joy you share when others do not know it is coming. For example:
• You strip all the romance out of buying flowers for a spouse or significant other if the only time you do it is when she has to ask you to do so.
• You completely undermine the genuineness of your compliments if the only time you give them is when someone asks you to do so.
• Your random acts of kindness become a whole lot less thoughtful if they are somehow orchestrated events.
There is no doubt that your altruism is at its best when the generosity you convey is done so without anyone having to solicit it. Think of this in terms of being tickled.
Science has established that your touch can tickle someone else. Science has also established that individuals cannot tickle themselves.
The reason for the difference, scientists have concluded, is that the human brain distinguishes between “expected” and “unexpected” sensations. Thus, when individuals attempt to tickle themselves, these are expected sensations and the brain will not allow the tickling sensation to occur.
Go tickle someone
Just as individuals cannot tickle themselves, you cannot convey true altruistic joy on others if they know it is coming or if they need to solicit it. Your altruism is most effective when you sneak up on others to present it.
Spouses or significant others are romantically moved when they are showered with cards and gifts when they least expects them. Your compliments have a special meaning when you give them without any sort of solicitation. Likewise, the referrals you give and the business contacts you create for others become extraordinary acts of giving when you do them without any sort of prompting.
Therefore, to truly build into your brand the notion that you are a giving person, on occasion you need to get out there and go tickle someone – metaphorically speaking of course.
Frank Agin is the founder and president of AmSpirit Business Connections. In addition, Frank is the author of Foundational Networking: Building Know, Like and Trust To Create A Lifetime of Extraordinary Success and the co-author of LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website and The Champion: Finding the Most Valuable Person in Your Network.