To read, listen to, or watch

This book is a comprehensive treatment of how people naturally “give and take” in relationships, and shows there needn’t be a contradiction between being generous and also (sometimes) receiving some kind of benefit.

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success, by Adam Grant

Below is a guide to offering attention in person, based on a funny and helpful TEDx talk by Celeste Headlee.

Blog: The Generosity Test

Related Chapters in Working Out Loud:

  • Chapter 5 - Building Relationships

  • Chapter 6 - Leading with Generosity

  • Chapter 11 - Your First Contributions

Additional Exercises & FAQ

Something you can do in less than 5 minutes

Pick a day when you will take the Generosity Test throughout the day. Doing it multiple times throughout the day will expose you to a wide range of reactions from other people, and the repetition will allow you to become more familiar with your own thoughts and behavior.

Q: I don’t get the Generosity Test. I already hold the door open for people!

The test isn’t about the physical act of holding the door open. It’s about what you’re thinking before and after, about tuning into your expectations and reactions, and about practicing making contributions without any strings attached.

Q: A person on my list doesn’t have an online presence. How do I offer attention?

For this exercise, I wanted you to experience how simple it can be to offer attention with just one click, so I suggest skipping that person and picking someone who does have an online presence. There will be plenty of chances to offer other contributions in the following weeks.

If no one on your list has an online presence, you might ask your Circle to help you expand your list. Who has written or given a talk about your topic? Is there a profile or piece of content you can Follow or Like?

If you’re stuck: Follow @workingoutloud or @johnstepper on Twitter or subscribe to the blog, and I will see (and appreciate) your attention.

Examples, Templates & Media

My Top 5 Ways to Offer Attention in One Click

  1. Like a post or comment on LinkedIn

  2. Like a post or comment on Twitter

  3. Like a post or comment on Instagram

  4. Follow someone on Twitter

  5. Follow someone on Instagram

My Top 5 Ways to Offer Attention In Person

  1. Cultivate genuine curiosity about the other person: Their feelings, ideas, story.

  2. Listen carefully.

  3. Make eye contact.

  4. Ask open-ended questions.

  5. Build on what the other person says.