Giving Away Free Information is A-OK!

Earlier this week I told you to let go of worrying about giving away information for free.  I guess this message could not have been timelier!  I just got back from listening to Adam Grant (Wharton School of Business’s youngest-tenured and highest-rated professor) talk about his new book “Give and Take”.  He gave some terrific advice about giving that I’ll pass along here:

First, always give something that’s easy for you to give; Grant calls it a “5-minute favor”.  This favor is a 5-minute interaction with someone that my include sharing knowledge, facilitating introductions, providing feedback, being a reference, etc.  It is just five minutes, but Grant believes that this brief interaction could be life-changing.

Second, the type of information/expertise you give should be specific.  People should get to know what to ask you for.  You shouldn’t just drop everything every time someone asks you for a favor.  For me, people regularly call when they have something “sticky” they have to say–at work, at home, or to a friend.  It’s easy for me to help in this area; AND it reinforces my Truth Teller brand.  I’ve trained them NOT to ask me for technical assistance or picking them up from the airport!

Finally – and this is me here, not Adam – I think it’s better to give without ANY expectation that you’ll get, however, if you find yourself always on the giving end, and rarely – if ever – on the receiving end, call me.  I’ll teach you how to ASK FOR HELP.

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