Is There Enough Kindness in Your Company?

Is There Enough Kindness in Your Company?

BY STEVE GAMLIN

Seven years ago, I was hired to deliver an after-lunch keynote for a New England-based company.

 

Many speakers despise that time-slot because the audience is collectively crossing over into that midday, coffee wearing off, double-frosted-cupcake-for-dessert sugar-high crash which, if you’ve never experienced it from stage, closely resembles a slow-moving earthquake taking a stroll through a bobblehead factory.

 

In preparation for this event, I took a deep-dive into the company’s website to find interesting tidbits which related to my topic.

 

There are speakers out there who deliver the same word-for-word, gesture-for-gesture animatronic speech day after day, in city after city…and there is nothing wrong with that. 

 

I prefer to keep it fun (for me, as well as my audience), fast-moving and relatable, as I try to connect with the company and determine what makes them tick.

 

In researching this client, I discovered a page on their website which included the logos of THIRTEEN non-profits which they supported. 

 

Seriously, thirteen. Lucky number, when you’re talking kindness.

 

Many big businesses have causes they support. Some are pet projects of the CEO, others are backyard difference-makers in the company’s home town.

 

When I asked, during a morning break, the reason for the wide variety of missions showcased on that page, the answer was simple: “These non-profits have been suggested by our team members, who asked us if we could help”.

 

loved that.

 

On this particular day, the CEO approached me near the end of lunch and asked if he could grab the microphone before I took the stage.

 

“No problem”, I replied as my mind raced, wondering: “Dang, where did I leave my laptop?”

 

As their leader filled close to fifteen minutes of stage-time, I dove back into their website, taking a screen-shot of their charitable page and inserting it among my slides. 

 

Forty-five minutes later, in the middle of my presentation (with very few post-lunch bobbleheads, by the way), this phrase flashed brightly as I spoke the words: “THIRTEEN Reasons Why YOU are an Awesome Company!”

 

As I clicked to the next slide, a baker’s dozen of logos for every non-profit they support filled the screen.

With a big smile, I shared: “I already liked your company. Now I love your company….and I’ll tell you why.”

As my laser pointer began to circle the graphic signifying the American Cancer Society, I shared the story of my friend Danny who, in the Spring of 1992, convinced me to go after my dream of being on the radio. I did so, going to school near Boston that Summer, and landing a job with a radio station we’d grown up listening to…just 3 weeks before Danny passed away, from cancer.

 

They ‘got it’.

 

When your heart is part of your business, I believe you win, big time.

 

Having promised myself, early in my career, that as much as ten percent of every speaking fee would be donated to charity, a check was in the mail to the ACS later that day on behalf of this wonderful client. 

 

According to an article shared at BizJournals.com*, here are six major benefits for companies which ‘give back’ via a Corporate Social Responsibility Plan:

 

  1. Creates a sense of unity within your team.
  2. Provides the knowledge that you are positively impacting someone’s life.
  3. Is a great reminder to be thankful for what you have.
  4. Creates an opportunity for your company to be recognized for your philanthropic efforts.
  5. Sparks the desire to continue to give back outside of business obligations.
  6. Provides a sense of pride of accomplishment — for example, you can help: build a house, put a child through school, etc.

Giving can be the glue which binds your company together, connecting your team emotionally behind common causes and cares, with lasting impact far beyond the simple reward of trading time for a paycheck.

 

Shortly after that lunchtime speaking event came another, which swung an even bigger wrecking ball toward my heart…in a really good way. 

 

This presentation was unique in that half the attendees were from the Seattle area while the others worked near Boston. Not wanting to select a local non-profit which may not resonate for my west coast audience members, a never-before-uttered phrase left my mouth:

 

“Hey, Seattle people…is there a non-profit in your area that you really like?”

 

The answer still affects me to this day, as one attendee raised her hand and said:

 

“We have a special school that helps homeless kids. They give them breakfast, teach classes, feed them lunch, have after-school activities and tutoring so they have a safe place to be while their parents are out looking for work and trying to find a place to live.”

 

Okay, speakers aren’t (and I am air-quoting feverishly here) ‘supposed to’ show emotion on the stage…but I have no shame in telling you that someone must have been cutting onions in the front row. 

 

My attendees noticed those onions as well.

 

All I could say was “Wow” as I reached into my back pocket, pulled out my checkbook and turned over five percent of that day’s speaking fee, adding: “Please hand-deliver it with a great big hug for the folks who run that program”.

 

Looking up, I noticed nearly every pair of eyes in that room was affected by that moment. 

I know it changed me forever.

 

Speaking with the CEO afterward, the pride was palpable.

 

That day, that moment…affected how I have worked with speaking clients ever since.

 

Cultivating kindness, as a company, can make a difference inside and outside your walls, far beyond the parking lot.


Is your company ‘feeling’ it?

What could you do, as a team, in your community?

 

You might just be amazed at what it does for your bottom line, in all areas of business, when you make kindness part of your mission.

 

And you never know who you might inspire with your example.

 

https://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/how-to/growth-strategies/2017/04/7-benefits-of-giving-back-through-your-company.html


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Steve Gamlin

Motivational speaker, Productivity coach, and Comedian, Steve Gamlin, has helped clients the world over achieve their goals, using 3 powerful strategies. Steve has created a new presentation and throughout this presentation, you will glean the same results from his proven process.

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