To say that generosity is motivated by self-interest seems wrong, until you consider that a feeling of righteousness or the enhancement of your self-esteem or your public image are important rewards.
Now that we easily can act as our own spokespeople online, many of us have assumed almost full responsibility for marketing our products or services—that is, promoting, advertising, and selling our work, as well as analyzing the results of our efforts. Not everyone is comfortable with the task, and perhaps even fewer are effective at self-promotion. Poor results can be due to factors like ridiculous expectations of instant success, open displays of resentment, and dogged determination to ignore the outcome. The hard sell, like a bad pick-up line, can be the reason for failed connections or, even worse, alienation.
We forget that the most natural kind of self-promotion is achieved through generosity. And what could be easier?
Think about the possibilities. Generosity can be as simple as:
- Giving advice or assistance to a novice
- Sharing knowledge in the form of how-to guides
- Congratulating someone on a recent achievement, and maybe sharing the person’s news on your own blog or social network
- Contributing thoughtfully to a discussion on someone else’s blog or status update
- Inviting someone to guest blog or participate in a Q&A
- Offering to coordinate, sponsor, or host a public event
- Making a product or service available for free, even for a limited time
- Being attentive to blog comments, questions, email, and phone calls that deserve responses*
There are so many creative, enjoyable forms of generosity to add to the list. Who says self-promotion needs to be all about ourselves? We get attention by paying attention.
Deep down, you knew that all along.