A fresh perspective and practical guide on the art of giftingA fresh perspective and practical guide on the art of gifting
When they say never to judge a book by its cover, it’ll be good to heed that advice. Otherwise, I would never have picked up this book if not for a recommendation from my friend. Giftology is a book that is chock full of practical advice and tips for building better relationships through the act of gifting. However, it’s not just any random act of gifting – it’s all about sending the most thoughtful gifts that make the cut.
A practical guide to building meaningful relationships with thoughtful gifts
The book is written by John Ruhlin, founder of the US-based gift-fulfilment service of the same name as the book. It details the learnings from his experience in delighting clients and referrals as he became one of the greatest sellers of Cutco knives. For the most part, the book appeared to created for sales and business development professionals. However, I felt that it can also help in building our personal or professional brands in a big way.
Giftology is chock full of practice advice for making someone feel special and acknowledged by gifting them with “practical luxuries”. This is a key theme that runs throughout the book, and here are my top three takeaways to become a better gifter.
1. It's less about what the gift is, but more about who it is for 2. Unexpected and unconditional gifts leave the deepest impressions 3. The best gifts delight more than just the recipients themselves
Takeaway #1: It’s less about what the gift is, but more about who it is for
“Personalization is what turns an ordinary gift into an extraordinary one.”John Ruhlin
One of the greatest mistakes of gifting is when the gifts reflect the sender’s preferences instead of the recipient. This sounds like a no-brainer, right? On second thought, however, I felt like I could relate to this; how many times have you got a gift for someone based on what you like instead of the recipient? I don’t send gifts often (it’s ranked the last among my Five Love Languages), but when I do, chances are that the first few gift ideas are what I’ve always wanted to get for myself.
Great gifts invoke delight in the recipient like they are one in a million. However, bad gifts make one feel like one of a million instead of one in a million. Take the time and effort to learn more about your recipients. Get to know their likes and dislikes, and choose something that is thoughtful and meaningful to them. This is probably the most sincere way to send a gift.
Takeaway #2: Unexpected and unconditional gifts leave the deepest impressions
“With no clear ‘What’s in it for me?’ available, it’s more likely your actions will be perceived more genuinely.”John Ruhlin
In my opinion, this is probably my greatest takeaway from this book. The author calls this “planned randomness”, in which you plan to send a gift ahead of time, but leave your recipient in the dark about it. It’s amazing not because of the greater degree of delight experienced by the recipient, but the psychology behind this principle.
According to John, when someone is expecting a gift, it is “no longer a surprise but an obligation”. Think about the last time someone told you that they were going to get you a gift. What was the first thought came into your mind? I’m willing to bet that you’re probably hoping that the gift is not something that you already possess. Another possible thought is that the gift will hopefully be something that’s on your wish list.
Either way, you are likely to be disappointed to find out later that the gift wasn’t what you expected. It might therefore be more imperative to keep your mouth shut and watch the surprise unfold “naturally”.
Takeaway #3: The best gifts delight more than just the recipients themselves
“The [gift] was a delivery vehicle for communicating value, making somebody feel special and important – and even more so, showing that you valued his or her inner circle.”John Ruhlin
This was another extremely useful insight put forth by John Ruhlin. I often struggle with gift ideas because I don’t know what the recipient would like to receive. However, John’s suggestion opened my mind to a new way to think about this; instead of focusing on the gift itself, why not focus on the experience that come with using the gift. Better yet, think about who the recipient will use the gift with – think about the recipient’s inner circle. This includes their families, loved ones, trusted associates and assistants, and/or clients.
The key here is to create moments where your recipient can appreciate the gift with their respective circles. There’s a recurring theme in the book where the author’s go-to gift will be a set of high-quality kitchen knives with the name of the recipient engraved onto it. I thought this was an amazing gift for two reasons – they look exquisite, and the recipient will use it almost every day as they prepare their meals. The author calls them “practical luxuries”, and they reminds the recipient of the delightful act almost every day. If that doesn’t leave a great impression, then I don’t know what does.
“Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 19th Century American Poet & Educator
There are a lot more practical advice contained within this amazing read, and mentioning all of them here will be akin to re-writing the entire book onto this blog. If anyone is interested to improve your gifting skills, then Giftlogy is a must-read!
Share your thoughts with me!
If you’ve read Giftlogy by Guy Kawasaki, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. Drop a comment below, or share this post with your friends with the tag @kopi.thoughts on Instagram or @kopithoughts on Twitter!