“What did you get for Christmas?” This is a question you have probably heard a few times lately. But an even better question to consider as you enter 2007 is, “What did you give in 2006?” Some gifts are very expensive, but in the long run, really not very valuable. On the other hand, there are valuable gifts anyone can afford and they are gifts that will bring great joy to the receiver – as well as to the giver. If you didn’t give any of these gifts this past year, make plans now to begin distributing them on January 1, 2007. If you did give them in 2006, the cost will be minimal to increase your giving – and the payback will be magnified considerably.
* Give the gift of praise. I’m not talking about false, syrupy flattery. I’m talking about giving real praise to people who deserve it. This involves not only thanking someone personally, but mentioning his or her contributions in front of others. The person could be commended for displaying positive qualities or for accomplishing good jobs or deeds.
* Give the gift of consideration. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. I saw a couple of young adults who were sitting in church and between themselves were making fun of an obviously mentally and physically challenged person. I certainly lost respect for these two people and I made it a point after church to speak to and shake hands with the ridiculed person. Maybe I shouldn’t have thought it, but I did wish there was some way the two mockers could change places with the one they mocked.
* Give the gift of concession. This involves saying at the right time, “I am sorry; you are right and I am wrong.” Again, like true praise, this involves honesty. If you are wrong, admit it. If you are in the right, try to work out things with the other person as smoothly as possible, and make it as easy as possible for the other person to concede.
* Give the gift of gratitude. Don’t ever forget to say, “Thank you.” Other phrases such as “I appreciate it very much” or “I appreciate you” are valuable gifts that are often given much more sparingly than they should be.
* Give the gift of attention. Listen when the other person is talking. If you’ve read my “Are We Communicating Yet?” book, or if you have heard me speak on this topic, then you may recall my emphasis that the average listening retention factor in our society is from 13-17 percent. What if you are among the listeners who rise high above this percentage? Not only will you gain an edge in learning, but you will also be considered a great communicator and people will deeply appreciate you.
* Give the gift of inspiration. Plant seeds of encouragement in the other personï¿½s heart and mind. Everybody needs encouragement, support and affirmation. Everybody. In my talks, one of the things I have said hundreds of times is, “Make me glad I’m me when I’m around you.” If you can make people feel better when you are around them and if you can lead them to be encouraged by your words and presence long after you have left, what a valuable gift you have given!
* Give the gift of personal presence. In health and sickness, in times of great joy or trouble, there is nothing equal to your persoanl presence and honest expression of congratulations or sympathy. “Being there” is more important than what you say. Don’t try to wax too eloquently in times of celebration or offer too much advice during times of pain. The mere fact you are present can make a profound difference.
Great gifts to give in 2007…
Carl Mays, author of over a dozen books and speaker at over 3,000 events, can be contacted at 865-436-7478 or firstname.lastname@example.org. His books, including A Strategy For Winning, People of Passion, Anatomy Of A Leader, Are We Communicating Yet? and Winning Thoughts, are available in stores, on www.carlmays.com and Amazon.com. Consider Carl as a speaker for your next meeting!
Swag out with Christian Activities Merchandise!
Visit the CHRISTIAN ACTIVITIES MUSIC & BOOK STORE