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Gift giving. Some of us love it, some of us loathe it, but most of us fall somewhere in the middle. We’re eager to please the recipient, but anxious about finding the right gift. I encourage you to think outside the box this year. Going beyond the physical items we can wrap up with pretty bows, consider gifting experiences, knowledge or introductions.

Experiences Deliver Lasting Memories

As my daughters have grown, I’ve found gifting experiences to be a truly special and rewarding present. This year, we’re headed to Vegas. As a family, we’ll be taking in some great shows, eating at awesome restaurants and doing all things “Vegas”, mind you none of what we’ll be doing will have to “stay in Vegas.” As with the other trips we’ve taken in recent years, I’m certain we’ll be making lifetime memories that will outlast any sweater or bracelet I might give them.

This giving of experience concept holds true for business gift giving. Whether you give a gift card, arrange for an individual experience or organize a group activity, the gift of experience is a gift worth giving to those in your professional orbit. To be certain, experiences can be a great team building activity, which contributes to greater productivity. That turns into a win for you as well. So when considering your clients or colleagues this year, you might go beyond the physical trinkets with experience gifts like:

  • a casual lunch somewhere fun
  • a Top Golf or bowling outing
  • an Escape Room adventure
  • a murder mystery dinner
  • a tour of holiday lights
  • a candle-making, cooking or pottery class
  • a local museum or exhibit visit

Tailor the experience to the people you are gifting. And remember it doesn’t have to be expensive to be a fun and meaningful experience.

Knowledge Is a Valuable Tool

On first blush, the gift of knowledge may not seem like a top entry for anyone’s holiday wish list, but let’s go a little deeper. When you teach someone something, it becomes something permanent they can use going forward. Do you have a family member always wishing they could do something they admire you do? Maybe its your secret recipe for the perfect roasted chicken. Or your technique for refinishing old furniture. Or how you consistently cultivate fresh produce in pots. Cordoning off a specific time to teach or share what you know or have gained through your own experience can be a truly special gift.

Maybe you have a team member eager to advance her potential? Scheduling time to teach her something new about the business might be the perfect gift. Maybe you have a client or vendor who has told you they wish they could organize their invoicing as effectively as you have, or format business cards like yours. Inviting them to sit down to walk though what you’ve done could be a valuable gift of knowledge.

Modern Knowledge Gifting Solutions

Knowledge gifts don’t have to be DIY. There are quality knowledge-granting applications readily available online to gift. Consider:

  • A membership to MasterClass Online Courses, which provides access to expert instruction on everything from gourmet cooking to dog training to photography and so much more.
  • LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda.com) offers expert instruction via professionally produced online modules. They cover a diverse menu of relevant business topics, including project management, leadership, SEO, Microsoft Suite mastery, creative writing, graphic design, and lots more.
  • In conjunction with my partner, Nancy Kruschke, yours truly has packaged up a targeted training module on time management. You can give the gift of greater productivity to your colleagues this year by giving them access to Productivity Training Academy.

Knowledge and experience gifts can be one-in-the-same, you might wrap up the gift of engagement to include coffee or dinner together. In fact, it might also be bundled with the final giving category I’m covering today – the gift on an introduction.

Introductions Offer Opportunity

A while back, a colleague of mine shared this article she had found about the value in making introductions. A social media post, she had tagged and acknowledged two people when she shared the article. First, she tagged the widow of a young man who had made a thoughtful introduction a decade prior, bringing my colleague in contact with a friend of his involved in a promising start up business. The introduction spurred a job interview which ultimately landed her a job. Second, she tagged a former coworker who had introduced her to her now husband. My colleague explained in her post: The introduction led to the job interview that launched her successful career, and the career led her to the coworker who introduced her to her now husband.

I’m certain the acknowledgment was a gift in-and-of itself to the widow of the young man, serving as a reminder of the scope of her late husband’s legacy. Making introductions between like-minded people can be a rich and rewarding experience for all parties involved, even years down the road.

Don’t underestimate the value of arranging a business lunch with independent colleagues you believe have the potential for synergy. Introductions are opportunity. For example:

  • Business introductions are invaluable for young people starting out in their career.
  • Referrals and professional work endorsements gift new business.
  • Business-congruent people may discover opportunities to collaborate for greater output.
  • You can open doors bringing together remote working, shy or reserved employees.
  • I’m not suggesting you set out as match-maker, but if you know two people well and think they might enjoy one another’s company, why not make the introduction?

Present Your Gift With a Personal Message

You might package up your gift of knowledge, experience or introduction in a thoughtfully written holiday card. I’ve found this training/podcast/webinar to be valuable and thought you might as well. Join me at X Event/Place for some holiday fun. You told me you liked my egg salad so let’s get together to make a batch! I’ve been wanting to introduce you to so-and-so and want to treat you both to lunch. Then, simply set up the logistics and let it unfold.

Great Gift Giving Gives to All Parties Involved

Gift giving in its truest form is symbiotic. You gift the recipient and you receive satisfaction in their receipt of the gift. This is certainly the case when you gift experiences, knowledge or an introduction. It may not seed a lucrative career, generate life-long memories, foster life changing confidence, or dawn a marriage, but it just might. And how awesome would that be? Happy Holidays!

Sara Genrich, CPO® is a Productivity Consultant, an Evernote Certified Consultant, and the creator of the Organizing@Work for Success Workshop.  She’s committed to providing real-life solutions so her clients have time to focus on the things that really matter.

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