Traveling as I do, I have an amazing opportunity each week to communicate with a wide variety of people. I am always fascinated by how people like to present themselves. From the casual conversation on an airplane, to a more robust conversation in the office, people will often go out of their way to try and impress. If you are trying to impress you are most likely NOT connecting with others. It’s easy to communicate, it is something much different to actually connect with others.
If you are trying to impress you have made the interaction about you. Newsflash: people care about three things; themselves, their victories and their struggles. If you are talking about you then you are not in the top three things the other person cares about.
Paying Value to Others
Author and speaker Denis Waitley once said, “The greatest communication skill is paying value to others.” People want to be valued, in their work and for who they are. One obstacle to doing this on a regular basis is when we pay too much attention to our value, not theirs.
If you would like to increase engagement with the team you lead or the with the people in your circle of influence (work, family and community) I recommend the following:
Initiate conversations – One of the people I coach called to tell me that he had a great conversation with the CEO of his company. “He just walked up and starting a conversation! I’ve never worked for a senior leader that did that!” he told me. Don’t wait for others to engage you. Be friendly. Smile. Start a conversation.
Ask great questions – The easiest way to stay away from talking about you is to ask great questions. Develop your curiosity about others and what makes them tick.
Take a genuine interest in others –When you talk with people, picture yourself getting the opportunity to introduce them to a large audience. Base your questions on uncovering who they really are and what value they bring to the group.
Be a good listener – The fastest way to show value to another human being is to listen to them. Whether it is a child, a spouse, or a friend, truly listening to them is the key to winning them as a friend and communicating that you value them. Good listeners can ask great questions to show that they are listening and trying to fully understand. Give it a try.
Listen more than you talk – In general, the more you are talking the less value you are showing to the other person. If you are genuinely interested in them, this will not be difficult to do.
Your employee engagement problems would all but evaporate if you focused more on connecting and less on communicating.