Sunday, March 07, 2010

Gifting from the heart

I'm a hard person to buy for these days, unless you have a bucket of extra cash. But you don't need a lot really.

The best gifts I've received are usually ones that involve planning, thought, and insight. Those are usually the most fun to give too.

Tim Miles writes a blog that featured this story last week:

Are You A Gift Artist?

Posted: 04 Mar 2010 07:51 AM PST

Do you give great gifts? Perfect gifts? Are you that person?

Each of us has that one person in our realm of association who’s just a better gift-giver than everyone else. They make a high art out of giving just the right gift.

That’s a powerful skill to possess, my friends.

Think about how you scratch your head in wonder at how he surprisingly came up with just the right thing.

My friend and colleague, Paul Boomer, recently gave me a pen and a book that leave me still scratching my head. In an effort to help you present more thoughtful gifts to your clients, vendors, and friends, I’ll deconstruct what Paul did:

  • He gave me a pen. As a writer, I value a good writing instrument as much as I value good verbs. I will constantly have his gift in my hand. When planning your next gift, think what would be of good use to your recipient.
  • He made the pen. Yup, that’s what I said. Sorry to bury the lede. He made the sucker – out of Paduke, an exotic wood that will darken with age. “How long did you take to make this pen, Boomer?” “Oh, about four hours.” When planning your next gift, think how you can invest more time than money.
  • He sent a follow-up email later that evening with hyperlinks detailing how the pen was made. He saw that I was clearly very interested in the process, so he anticipated my questions and provided me a bonus gift of a great story. When planning your next gift, think how you can make it even more special by providing a good story.

His second gift – the book – was originally published in 1980 and just recently reprinted.

Are you familiar with the Choose Your Own Adventure older-children’s books?

You see, Boomer and I often talk together to prospects about the defining characteristics of good websites. I’ve often asked prospects if they were familiar with those books as they’re a great analogy for how visitors with different personas will each travel different paths on a site but all should hopefully end up with the princess and not being eaten by the dragon. He’s heard me say something similar on a dozen occasions.

The book symbolically means nearly as much to me as the pen.

When planning your next gift, consider any analogies or metaphors your recipient may use with frequency – are there any symbolic gifts you may give them?

To make a memorable impression when saying, “Hey. You matter:”

  1. Invest more time than money.
  2. Keep your ears and eyes open and don’t be afraid to jot down notes now in your little black book ahead. Always be shopping.
  3. Give gifts at the most unanticipated of times.

Become an Artist of Giving. No need to thank me.

Consider it my gift to you.

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