Last week’s blog post about not letting the actions of others dictate your own behavior is one that sparks another conversation… It’s important to think about not only the actions of others affecting you, but about your own actions affecting others.
There are many ways to influence people positively. There’s only one real “rule of thumb” for everyone to follow, and that is to be yourself! I realize that advice isn’t very specific, though. So, what are some things you can do to become one of those people who bring out the best in others? Here are a few ideas:
- Be an active listener. Don’t use the time someone else is talking to think about your own response, or daydream, or take a mental break. Stay actively involved in what they’re saying. Echo some things they say back to them in order to keep yourself in check. Make mental notes of some of your favorite things, questions you have, or the comments you can relate to the most. Write it down if you’re in a setting where you can do that like at a team meeting, or in a classroom. When you actively listen, you can provide better responses.
- Express gratitude, and be specific. Saying “thank you” needs to be more than just that. I’m very glad if your mom taught you manners. Mine did too. But don’t let it become robotic. That’s when it could start to seem insincere. Instead of “thanks for your help,” try something more specific. What did that help do for you? What did it “cost” them to help? Some specific examples might be, “Thank you for staying late to clean up after the party. I was so tired and you cut my work in half. I realize you were tired too and you could have just gone home. I appreciate your thoughtfulness and hard work.” or “Thank you for speaking at our event. I loved your story! It made me laugh and think about my own family.” These types of comments show that you were really paying attention and will make the other person feel great about helping you out.
- Deliver unexpected recognition. There might be someone in your life you admire, who helps you out “from afar,” or does small things to make you a happier person. Maybe you think about her often and how much you appreciate her but you haven’t said it enough. Stop what you’re doing and put the thoughts you’re having into words. Write it down, type it into your laptop or phone so you can remember it. Will you see her soon? Tell her your thoughts in person. If not, use your notes to email, text, or hand-write a note. Unexpected recognition is so meaningful and can really brighten someone’s day. YOU have the power to do that. Don’t ever think that someone won’t care, or feel silly for it. It is always a good idea because it will strengthen your relationship with that person.
Just remember to put your own spin on these. If hand written notes just aren’t you and you’re more of a texting emojis person, then do that. If you’re a little quiet or shy to express yourself to others, then focus on perfecting the active listening example. People can tell when you’re doing it, even if you’re not the most wordy person yourself. Do you appreciate things that are “weird” or different from what others notice? GREAT! Say it. That is unique and fun feedback people like to receive.
Did someone come to mind while reading this? Someone you’d like to affect positively? Try one of these out on them and see how it goes. If you put these into practice with the people in your life, your relationships will become a lot stronger and more positive. Make this a habit to become someone others are drawn to and enjoy working with.