9 Ways to Make People Feel Essential
by Scott Ginsberg
Yes, making someone feel “important” and “valued” and “needed” is a HUGE part of being an approachable leader.
But that’s not enough.
If you truly want to win with people, you need to make them feel essential.
Here’s a list of ten practices to do so:
1. Three simple words.
“I appreciate you.” Not, “I appreciate that…” and not “I appreciate what you’ve…” No. “I appreciate YOU.” Small change, huge difference. My friend John always closes his emails with this phrase and it makes me feel like a million bucks, every time. Who do you appreciate?
2. Four simple words.
“I believe in you.” NOTE: This doesn’t work unless you look people straight in the eye. My friend Harlan says this to his students all the time, and they LOVE him because he believes in them. Who do you believe in?
3. Take notes.
Taking notes is proof. Taking notes keeps you mindful in the conversation. Taking notes honors someone’s thoughts. Taking notes is respectful. Taking notes increases someone’s self-esteem. Not to mention, if you don’t write it down, it never happened. Do you carry a notebook or jotter with you at all times?
4. Come back to notes.
At a later date, refer back to the notes you took while listening to somebody. If possible, physically show that person the notes you took. Explain how you’ve applied their ideas since originally writing them down. How are you reinforcing the size of your ears?
5. Tell people to write things down.
This practice takes note taking one step further. Next time someone says something powerful, instead of YOU jotting it down, tell HER to jot it down. It not only honors her thoughts; it gives her a chance to capture something valuable that she may not have recognized until you said something. How are you encouraging people’s inner poet?
6. Ask people to repeat things.
Not because you didn’t understand their point; but because their insight was powerful. This demonstrates your desire for clarity. It also gives them a chance to rephrase, repeat or re-tweak their original idea, making it as strong as possible. How do you ask for clarification?
7. Cheer people on.
The more cheerleaders people have, the easier it is for them to win. For example: Ever seen The Packers play a home game at Lambeau Field in December? Insane. Even if the opposing team wins, you KNOW their players were scared shitless the whole time. Are you that supportive of YOUR people?
8. Bring people joy.
If you concentrate on doing this at least three times a day, your life won’t just BE swell; it will swell with happiness and purpose. And so will the lives of the people you touch. Try playing the “Let’s See How Many People I Can Make Smile Today” game. How many people did you look in the eye and say thank you to yesterday?
9. Acknowledge everybody.
This one shouldn’t even be on my list. But, because not everybody practices this simple act of approachability, I’ve included it. So, slow down. Stay present. Hold your eye contact with everyone you encounter for one additional second. ONE second. That’s what Bill Clinton does. And see if you can acknowledge every single person you encounter for one day. It’s harder than you think. Then again, it all depends on what you see when you see people. How many coworkers did you go out of your way to avoid yesterday?
10. Remember people’s names.
Here’s another one that shouldn’t (have) to be on this list, but alas. So, here’s the plan. First, stop telling yourself you suck at remembering names. Next, go buy Remember Every Name Every Time by Ben Levy. Next, start asking people to remind you when you forget their name, as opposed to insultingly saying, “Yeah, um, what your name again?” Also, start silently quizzing yourself on people’s names as you walk into the room. And consider asking other people to help if you get stumped. Ultimately, if you actually commit yourself to doing a better job of remembering names, you will remember them. Come on. You know names hold the key. You know names are everything. Just do it. How many books have you read about remembering people’s names?
It’s a word that derives from the Latin essentia, which means, “essence.”
That’s what being an approachable leader is all about.
Honouring and loving and acknowledge the essence of another person.
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How are you making people feel essential?
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Scott Ginsberg, aka "The Nametag Guy," is the author of eight books, an award-winning blogger and the creator of NametagTV.com. He's the only person in the world who wears a nametag 24-7 and teaches businesspeople worldwide about approachability. For more info about books, speaking engagements customized online training programs or to Rent Scott's Brain for a one-on-one coaching session, call 314/256-1800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.