Posted by Todd Smith
One of the keys, if not the most important one, to building successful relationships is your ability to show a sincere interest, both in the person and things that are important to that person. By expressing genuine interest in someone’s qualities, background, stories, hobbies, career, family, or anything else closely connected to that person, you will give them a gift, a sense of importance, well-being, and value.
And the law of attraction will draw people to you like a powerful magnetic force.
Let’s assume you are out at a social gathering and meet Sue. Sue gives you her undivided attention, asks questions about your family, and concludes the conversation with a warm smile and firm handshake. How would you feel about her?
Now let’s assume you meet Joe at the same event. Joe barely acknowledges your existence, looks around for other people to talk to, and can’t remember your name five seconds later, even if he were paid $100,000! How would you feel about him?
In this lesson, I will highlight 10 ways to express interest in others. It is critical to recognize your ability to build meaningful relationships will play a gargantuan role in both your personal and professional success.
1. Make Your Greeting Stand Out—When you meet people for the first time or greet them for the 10th time, you have an opportunity to make a positive impression on them. The key here is to take 10 seconds and make them feel like the most important person on this earth. Look them in the eyes with warmth and authenticity and offer them a friendly greeting. If appropriate, give them a firm handshake or hug.
2. Use Their Name— In all of your communication, written or verbal, first time or repeated, make it a point to use a person’s name.
In Dale Carnegie’s timeless book How to Win Friends and Influence People, he wrote, “If you want to win friends, make it a point to remember them. If you remember my name, you pay me a subtle compliment; you indicate that I have made an impression on you. Remember my name and you add to my feeling of importance.”
3. Listen With Interest—There is a difference between simply listening to people and listening with deep interest. Listening with interest signifies that you really care about what they are saying, in contrast to simply listening because it is the polite thing to do. If you question whether people can tell the difference, DON’T. They can and they will readily make judgments about you if they sense you are pretending to listen.
4. Ask Questions—A great way to demonstrate interest is to ask questions. It could be as simple as striking up a conversation with a co-worker about what they did over the weekend. Or perhaps asking something about the person’s family. Asking questions generally stimulates a person to talk about their interests and themselves.
5. Acknowledge People—When you acknowledge people, you recognize their value and importance. How about hugging your children before they go off to school? Or saying “good morning” to your co-workers as you walk through the office? Or saying hi to an acquaintance you see dining at another table in a restaurant? When you go out of your way to acknowledge people, you will make a positive impression on them.
6. Show Respect—When you show people respect, your actions express your interest in them. Think about it: when people show you respect, how does it make you feel about them? On the other hand, when people DON’T show you respect, how do you feel about them? For more about giving and getting respect, read To Earn Respect, You Must Show Respect.
7. The Old-Fashioned Way—One of the best ways to demonstrate the importance of a relationship is to call someone just to see how they’re doing. I receive very few calls from people who don’t have a self-serving agenda. Those who call because they genuinely care about me stand out in my mind. Think about it: how frequently do people call you just to say hi or find out what’s going on in your life?
8. Offer Genuine Compliments—When people take the time to offer you a sincere compliment, how does that make you feel about them? Are you naturally drawn to people who speak positively of you? When you take an extra 10 seconds to offer people a genuine compliment, your interest in them can have an impact far bigger than you know.
9. Encourage People—When you encourage others, you lift their spirits, enhance their self-confidence, and add fuel to their motivational fire. Perhaps more than anything, you give them hope and inspiration. Wow, if simple words of encouragement can do so much to enhance someone’s life, why don’t we all do more of it? How long could it take? 10 seconds?
10. Acknowledge Special Events in People’s Lives—When you make the effort to remember important dates in people’s lives, such as their birthdays, anniversaries, religious holidays, or perhaps even the anniversary of a loved one’s death, your efforts will be noticed. I feel awful when I read this point because I get an F on it. Ouch! The good news is my wife gets an A+. Does that count?
Let me encourage you to do exactly what I am committed to doing. I am going to go back over each of these points, grade myself, and make some notes as to how I can improve. If showing an interest in others is perhaps the most important key to building valued relationships, then why wouldn’t you take the time to review this list one more time and see what you can do better?
When you show an interest in others and the things that are important to them, they will show an interest in you and the things that are important to you!
Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 43 years and founder of Little Things Matter. This blog contains over 200 of his timeless life lessons.
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