It's great to work with someone who makes you feel important. Someone who remembers your name, and maybe that you have a dog named Brownie or that you recently took a vacation to Florida. When you work with someone like that, the time seems to fly and you look forward to working with them again.
My dentist is like that. She keeps a great file on me. Yes, she has my info about my dental work, but she also writes down the names of my children and how their last appointments went. She takes notes about my upcoming trips and on what's new in my life and she always asks me questions about what I'm up to. She remembers (or writes down) that she recommended a different brand of toothpaste and asks me how I'm liking it.
I feel important when I'm in her office. I feel like we're friends. I feel special, even though I know she treats everyone this way. The fact that she writes down the information (rather than memorizing it) doesn't make me feel any less special. I recognize that she has a lot of patients and it wouldn't be realistic for her to try to memorize everything. Just the fact that she takes the time to listen and note some details about my life makes me feel valued.
As someone who travels a lot, I also like it when I'm welcomed by the front desk staff with a friendly, "Welcome back," even though I know they don't remember me personally, it's my profile on their computer that has told them I've been there before.
I love when I get together with repeat clients and it feels like we're old friends. I look forward to working with them and catching up. I like feeling like I belong, like I'm someone special and that I'm worth remembering.
How do you make people feel? Do you make them feel welcome at your workplace? Do you make a point to remember people's names, and maybe even some details about them (even if you have to write it down like my dentist does)?
Business coach Brian Tracy says that 15 per cent of our professional success is due to our technical ability and 85 per cent is due to our ability to get along with other people. I strongly believe that, and I like to take it a step further and say that not only do we need to get along with others, we need to be focused on how we make them feel when they are with us.
I like the way I feel when I walk into Starbucks. They make me feel special -- with my special drink, my name on the cup, a nice comfy chair, free WiFi and a pleasant atmosphere in which to work or lounge.
I don't like the way I feel when I walk into McDonald's. I feel rushed and I feel anonymous.
I like it when I call a company and am able to reach a live person, who is friendly and personable. It's even better when the receptionist remembers me from a past interaction.
I don't like it when I call the same person over and over again and always get the same voice mail message but never get a return call. I don't trust that they are actually in the office. How do they make me feel? Unimportant. I don't feel friendship or trust, which means that it's less likely that we'll have a good working relationship.
We know that networking is the way to get your next job. It can be in your current company or in another one, but it's all about who you know, right? No one will recommend you if they don't trust that you'll do a good job. They trust you'll do a good job if you make them feel confident when you work with them.
It's all about how you make them feel!
Think about how you feel when you are in the company of your colleagues, of your boss, of the people in your local coffee shop. Where do you feel good? What is it that they're doing that makes you feel good? They are successful because of something they are doing.
Can you emulate what they're doing and make others feel good?
Here are a few very simple tips that sound like common sense. Sadly. we know that common sense is not common practice. Make these things your common practice.
- When you make eye contact with someone, make a point to really see them. One good way is to note their eye colour (because you actually have to look into their eyes to do this).
- Use their name in conversation and remember it for the next time. Remembering names is a simple secret to success that many people discount. Don't discount it. If you know a person's name, you can be darned sure they will make a point to remember yours the next time (plus, it's impressive and it makes you memorable).
- Pick up something personal from the conversation and make a note of it so you can bring it up the next time you see them. For example, "Last time you were in the office you were just heading off on a Caribbean vacation. How was it?"
- Take a little extra time when you're having a conversation. Stop doing what you are doing (it's not a good time to multi-task), avoid walking in the opposite direction (conversations in the halls happen this way all the time) and give your full, undivided attention to the other person for a few minutes. You won't regret it.
If you make people feel good, they are not likely to try to make you feel bad -- rather, they will reciprocate. Be nice and people will be nice back. Be rude, disengaged, dismissive or unfriendly and you will be sure to get that back, too.
Make personal connections with people. Starbucks isn't the only company out there doing a great job of it. It's easy, it makes perfect sense and it will make you feel good, too.
Brian Tracy is a well-known business coach and guru. He has lots of terrific free resources on his site--including his recipe for a great Caesar salad. Visit his site.