When it comes to books about networking, building relationships and working with people, the undisputed classic is “How To Win Friends and Influence People.” Dale Carnegie wrote the book in 1936 and it has been read by millions of people since. One of the great realizations in the book is that although some people are more extroverted or affable, working with people is a learned skill that anyone can master.
In the second section of the book, Carnegie offers what he calls “Six Ways To Make People Like You.” These are simple suggestions that can make a huge difference in the way you work with people.
#1 – Be Genuinely Interested In Other People.
Studies show that the most frequently said word is “I.” People love to talk about themselves, their lives, their hobbies, their families, their passions, etc. When you interact with people, ask questions and allow them to talk, they will love you for it.
#2 – Smile
A smile is a simple gesture that doesn’t cost money, time, or energy but it can brighten someone’s day; it changes the way you feel and makes you more approachable. Smiling is attractive and contagious. People around you can’t help but smile when they see a big smile on your face.
#3 – Remembering and Using People’s Name
They say that the sweetest and most important sound in language is the sound of your own name. In Jack Welch’s book “Winning,” when asked which restaurant was his favorite, he replied: “The one where they know my name.”
We’ve all been there: when you recognize someone but can’t remember their name. It’s awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassing. We often use the excuse that “I am not good with names,” but if you want to master people, you need to begin to remember names. Develop a system. When you meet someone use their name three times in conversation or write their name down in a notebook with some details about them. Figure out a system that works for you.
#4 Be A Good Listener
As the sage saying goes, we were given one mouth and two ears for a reason. We need to encourage others to talk and then we need to listen to understand what they are saying. Listening is much more than being silent. It is an active process. It involves empathy — the ability to walk in someone’s shoes and understand them without judging or fixing.
Listening is a skill that is developed with practice. As you master it, people will like you more and more.
#5 Talk To People In Terms of Their Interests
People love it when you can relate to their interests. Being knowledgeable on subjects they enjoy and capable of engaging in intelligent conversation about what matters most to them says volumes about your interest in who they are.
That doesn’t mean that you have to be an expert in every category, but being able to talk to people in terms of their interests goes a long way. One way to do this is to study topics of interest before meeting with people. If you know that your business lunch is with a huge baseball fan, then take some time to brush up on your knowledge of the game. This small point may make the biggest difference in how the lunch turns out.
Talking in terms of other people’s interests is another way to put them first and leave a great impression. If you have paid attention to the first five ways to make people like you, you are probably noticing a trend. Each of the points is focused on the other person.
#6 Make People Feel Important
Making people feel important can be done in a myriad of ways. You can give a compliment, remember their birthday or a special occasion, recognize them for their skills and contribution, or give them a gift. The key is to make sure you do it sincerely. Your motives must be pure. This is not about giving to get, it is about giving because you care.
People read through individuals who are fake and only in it for themselves. If you are going to compliment someone, make it sincere. Look at the good in people and point that out.
As a boy scout I was taught to leave a campsite better than I found it. I think the same principle applies to people.
Leave every person better for having met you.
I had to learn this one the hard way, but luckily my singing teacher taught me this little trick to remove the frustration out of my voice!
Here are the top 3 things you can do to create a great first impression!
A few weeks ago I was boarding a Delta flight from San Antonio, Texas to Salt Lake City, UT. I am a loyal Delta flyer and am often upgraded to first class as I was on this flight.
When I got to my seat I found a handwritten note on my seat with two chocolates. It read:
Thank you for your continued business and loyalty as a Diamond Medallion with us! We truly appreciate you here in SAT!!'
Each of the first class seats had a handwritten note and some chocolate. The guy next to me was amazed at the fact that they were personalized (his talked about how he has flown over 2 million miles with Delta).
It reminded me of the power of a handwritten note. It stands out. It is meaningful. It shows that you took time. That you really care.
As technology makes communication easier and faster – I think we sometimes need to slow down and stand out, because the more high tech we become the more high touch we must become.
I have had a practice of writing and mailing (yes, with a stamp) a handwritten note every week. I am amazed at the responses I get, people are over the moon when they get a card from me in the mail. It’s impactful.
So if you want to stand out or just make someone’s day – don’t forget the lost art of handwritten notes.
Mark Bowden is an expert in human behaviour and body language. His bestselling books include the bestselling Winning Body Language; Winning Body Language for Sales Professionals ; and Tame the Primitive Brain – 28 Ways in 28 Days to Manage the Most Impulsive Behaviors at Work. Bowden originally received a university degree in performance in the UK, and studied the gesture-control methods of Jacques Lecoq’s Laboratory of Movement in Paris. He then went on to work with leading practitioners of movement psychology, building upon the influence techniques of Dr. Milton Erickson. When we met up in Toronto, he explained to me how the ancient survival instincts of our brain wire us to interpret gesture, and what this means for the future of both human communication and also the design of machines that can understand and relate to us.
As I have studied successful people, one of the common traits I find is optimism. Not naive or overdone – just a positive approach to life, leadership, challenges, and what is possible. Those who believe in positive results think the world looks bright. They see the good in things and not just the bad. They carry a smile on their face instead of a frown. Author John Maxwell said, “A pessimist is a person who regardless of the present is disappointed in the future.” An optimist then is a person who regardless of the present is excited about the future.
The world is full of pessimists. We are conditioned to be negative and cynical. I find it interesting that very few people would admit to being negative. They use the excuse that they are “realists” not “pessimists”. The problem with that is reality is based on perception. We create our world and our experiences. Optimists just tends to create better worlds.
My great-grandfather, Donald Bowman, was an optimist. My dad and his brothers helped my great-grandfather build a cabin in Idaho before he died. They worked over a couple of summers and by the end Grandpa Bowman had gone blind due to diabetes. Joking around with him one day, one of the boys asked what he would do if a bear came. Grandpa Bowman smiled and said, “I would run and climb the first tree I ran into.”
People who are optimistic view problems in life as a crossroad and not as a cliff. They see the opportunity for growth not the peril of death. Cultivating an optimistic outlook on life will serve you well.
With every new connected device, messaging application or digital service that enters our lives - it becomes increasingly difficult to resist the seductive lure of technology on our attention. For Natasha Schull, a cultural anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, the addictive nature of devices, whether slot machines or smart phones, is no accident. In her recent book, ADDICTION BY DESIGN: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas, she explored the relationship between technology design and the experience of addiction. Her next book, KEEPING TRACK: Personal Informatics, Self-Regulation, and the Data-Driven Life concerns the rise of digital self-tracking technologies and the new modes of introspection and self-governance they engender. Meeting up in Soho, New York - we spoke about the nature of addiction and what makes the design of a particular technology so enthralling, the strange trance-like states that gamblers experience, the quantification of work and life, and why smartphones are a kind of ‘Skinner box’.
High Touch Service for a High Tech World - Tim Sanders
My neighbor Brian describes his bi-monthly meetings with his financial advisor, Ken, as “an oasis of conversation in a world of bite-sized thoughts.” Sometimes they discuss financial planning and other times they talk about current events. Over the last decade, Brian has embraced the digital information revolution, replacing store visits with Amazon.com sessions and finding many of his services online. His real estate broker, accountant and attorney communicate more over email these days than face to face. While digital technology is convenient, it lacks the human touch, especially when he has questions or customer service issues.
“Ken’s a throwback, that’s for sure,” he told me. “And I consider him an indispensible part of my life.” While Ken may be conducting analog business in a digital world, he’s also finding a way to stand out from a sea of financial planning services.
In 1995, MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte declared, “That which can be digitized will be digitized.” Needless to say, he was right and here we are. But is it all for the better?
Several years ago, I partnered with the HeartMath Institute to survey thousands of people about their Internet use, quality of life and state of mind. The results were unsettling. We found that a high percentage of our respondents suffered from too much information and too little human interaction in the real world. The result was a condition we coined New Economy Depression Syndrome (NEDS). Complications include loss of sleep, anxiety and stress. Since then, Internet usage has skyrocketed due to mobile devices and pervasive WiFi availability.
Not only do consumers gravitate toward all things digital, but service providers are also seeking the efficiency of machine learning, bot-based service and automation to disrupt financial services. These “FinTech” innovations purport to be ushering in a golden era of convenience and consumer empowerment. But really, they increase the divide between people like Brian and Ken.
…the move to digital services likely creates an atmosphere of confusion and misunderstanding.
Financial services professionals have fallen prey to the allure of digital tools like email to extend their capabilities and save time. In 2012, Deeper Media polled financial advisors to measure their mix of communications with their clients (breaking it out into meetings, phone, email and text). Not surprisingly, email represented over half of all communications. Face-to-face meetings with clients were down, in some cases by half, due to increased workloads that advisors faced.
The problem with email is that it fails to communicate our intentions and convey any level of nuance. UC Berkeley professor Albert Mehrabian and his research team found that nothing creates clarity like one’s ability to see facial expressions and hear tone of voice. In other words, the move to digital services likely creates an atmosphere of confusion and misunderstanding. While email works for simple transactions like sending reports and updates, it’s no replacement for real-time or face-to-face conversations.
All of this presents an opportunity for financial advisors who w ant to break the digital chain and differentiate through high-touch services. Here are four ways to keep human-to-human contact front and center with your best clients:
• Warm up the channel whenever possible
Think of each of your communication channels like a cup of coffee. Email is cold, but efficient. Phone calls provide a warmer real-time interaction. Meetings present a piping hot opportunity to make deep connections. Track your interactions with clients, isolating those that need to move from email to phone or phone to in-person.
• Sell meetings and phone calls as high value interactions
One reason clients aren’t receptive to phone calls or meetings is their lack of a strong value proposition. Remember, the consumer seeks efficiency as much as — or more than — you do, so you need to convince them to take the time to talk or meet with you in order to warm up the channel. Don’t schedule vague “check-ins”; instead, offer learning sessions or personal coaching opportunities. When the call or meeting happens, make sure you bring an information gift to every interaction, and deliver a high “return on attention.”
• Listen more than you talk
A great way to build your personal brand of being a great conversational partner is to provide a sounding board to your clients. In The 8th Habit, Dr. Stephen Covey argues that one of our greatest needs in life is to be heard. We don’t want to be alone in our feelings and opinions, so those who listen well become our closest friends and partners. In my experience, I’ve found that if I talk 50 percent less in client meetings, my sales performance rises sharply because I discover more opportunities and, at the same time, produce more trust.
• Be available at the most personal level
The biggest problem with online services is that they are purely transactional. Email or chat conversations are solely focused on resolving the client’s issue as fast as possible. This is where the human touch can really differentiate. Your clients are real people with real problems, and when they reveal them to you in casual conversation, be willing to detour the conversation to the personal. In some cases, all you can do is provide encouragement, but in others, you may be able to offer a solution that goes beyond your product set or financial advice. You are a human being as well. It’s more than likely that your clients share a lot of the same kind of life experiences, and yours could easily influence theirs in a positive way. And in the process, your client comes to like you — and trust you — more than ever. That’s high touch.
We Have Hit Peak Tech - Mike Walsh
Is slow tech just a cynical status update or is it here to save us?
Every year, we are rewarded with a new round of technology upgrades. Faster processors, bigger and brighter screens, better cameras — a bounty that promises more rapid selfies, status updates and streaming entertainments. Forget peak oil, we have hit peak tech. For the more enlightened, that means something needs to change.
One of the highlights of the Further Future event in the desert this year, was Eric Schmidt flying in on his chopper to counsel the Mad Max styled crowd to disconnect from their devices and break their addition to technology. Such advice from a former Google CEO is not as ironic as it might sound. Google themselves, concerned for the welfare of their employees, have run experiments such as Dublin Goes Dark, where staff were asked to leave their phones at reception when they finished for the day, to create a better distinction between work and life. They are not alone. France, the perennial defender of La Bonne Vie, is set to pass a law that will allow workers to ignore their email after 6pm.
Behind all of these experiments and debates, is a bigger question about our relationship to technology. Rather than being slaves to the upgrade cycle, people are now talking about the Slow Tech movement. It was actually one of the subjects I spoke about with French entrepreneur and digital philosopher, Tariq KRIM, during the very first episode of my podcast, Between Worlds.
Some of the biggest adherents to the idea of Slow Tech are, nor surprisingly, concerned parents. Those of us born in the seventies, grew up in the shadow of the apparently corrosive influence of television. TV was our generation’s moral hazard, but at least it was controllable. There was a time for homework, a time for family dinner, and a time for reruns of M.A.S.H. In the smartphone age, such delineations are not so easy to make — unless, like one ambitious cafe, you build your dining room as a Faraday cage.
Your devices are getting faster, but you don’t have to.
And yet in a way, design may actually be the best solution to connectivity overload. Rather than designing for ever increasing speed and throughput, we may actually start to imagine products that come with in-built friction, that are designed to slow us down. Think of it as a kind of stomach band for our tech addiction.
Here are couple of examples:
- The new Leica M-D is a gorgeous digital camera without a LCD screen, and manual controls for aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It is designed to re-create both the creative focus, and the anticipation that traditionally came with analog film photography.
- Apps like IA Writer, and devices like the Freewrite, remove the temptations of modern tablets, to offer writers the same distraction-free environment as an old school typewriter did.
- The Punkt mobile phone has had all of the features of a hyper-connected smartphone surgically incised, and simply allows the user to text and make calls. As its makers explain, ‘The more our phones do, the more they demand of us’.
- Vinyl sales are having a mighty resurgence. The warmth of the analog sound is only one of the attractions of the medium. Also appealing is the mindfulness that putting on a record requires, as opposed to the instant gratification of streaming an algorithmic playlist.
- Long form content platforms like Medium are gaining a wider audience, as readers — tired of 140 character updates or moronic click bait lists — seek more reflective alternatives. Even on mobile.
Some might fairly label Slow Tech products and practices as a Luddite reaction to the inevitable ascent of technology. You can’t stop progress, and it is certainly dangerous to try and regulate it into submission. But as co-creators of the future, it is also foolish to completely abdicate aesthetic control over what technology offers us, and how we wish to live.
A faster future is always possible, but is it desirable?
At the same time, we should resist becoming the grumpy elder who has lost touch with the new generation. Maybe several decades from now, if brain interfaces to technology become commonplace, our kids, now themselves parents, will find themselves bemoaning their own children’s habits.
Do you best to suppress your wry grin as you hear them yelling in the next room, ‘Hey! How many times do I have to tell you to stop doing that? I know you are thinking on the computer again. Use an iPad like a normal person for once!’
If you are interested in more of my ideas, you can stalk me on the Web. I spend 300 days a year travelling: researching markets, interviewing clever people, giving talks and looking for the future in the seeds of the present. Drop me a line if you would like me to speak at your next event.