There are three kinds of people, as the saying goes; those who WATCH things happen, those who MAKE things happen and those who DON’T KNOW what’s happening.
Only you can determine which kind of person you want to be. Some individuals would rather watch something happen than participate in any activity and that’s okay. Others, whether by happenstance or design, do not have a clue what is going on around them. Obviously, most everyone would choose to be someone who makes things happen. But in order to make things happen, there are certain ingredients that should help you become successful when dealing with people, in general.
Whether you are leading your business, selling products or services for your company, or are in any kind of role that deals with meeting the public, there are at least three "have-to" characteristics that must be developed in making things happen. Each of these characteristics represents ingredients to your success in business. They are helpful and straight forward. Each one of them is easily mastered. It is up to you to determine how much they will help your everyday performance and attitude on the job, no matter your organizational role.
First and foremost, Wall Street Journal writer Adam Callinan suggests one way to make things happen is to go WAY BEYOND JUST LOOKING SOMEONE IN THE EYES when you first meet them. Many people will naturally look away, but don’t do it, says Callinan, "You must stare into their soul as if they are the most important person you’ve ever met." If they look away, that’s fine, but you need to continue to show they have your complete attention. On a go forward basis you should keep eye contact as a top priority in your relationship with them.
Secondly, SMILE. Even though it is one of the most underutilized characteristics in human relations, a sincere smile conveys more than any other characteristic. Not a forced or contrived look, your smile needs to continually communicate that you care about that person, regardless of whether you are trying to sell them something or continuing to build upon a fledgling relationship.
Writer Nancy Rothbard cites the "physiological act of smiling can make people feel better. Research shows when people say the long ‘e’ sound, it requires one to smile (try it), they feel more positive emotion." She goes on to say, "You’re not the only one who feels better when you smile. Research has found that when people display happiness, others also fell happy, and when people display sadness, others feel sad." Mercedes Alfaro of First Impression Management indicates "A smile says, I’m approachable and confident." Be genuine and the rest will take care of itself in making things happen.
Finally, IMPROVE YOUR LISTENING SKILLS. With the advent of the internet, the requirement to have to listen has been lessened. Study after study has shown that listening skills have done nothing but declined over time. A recent study from the Academy of Management Journal indicates employees who think their bosses are not listening don’t offer meaningful solutions to problems. Some leaders have been shown to simply listen until they are able to determine whether there is alignment with their views or not. Based upon what they conclude, they either continue to listen or move on to something else.
Clearly, there are many people out there who have something important to say. With some people, we should pay attention to what they DON’T say. That last sentence aside, many times we must deal with people who are not listening. They are merely waiting for their turn to talk. Either way, without the proper listening skills, many meetings can last way too long, hurting the feelings of others and shortening some career paths. Lou Holtz once said “I never learn anything talking. I only learn things when I ask questions.” Consider asking open ended questions that will require more than a fixed yes or no answer. As they go about answering those questions, give them every indication you are listening to every word. Don’t just act like you are paying attention, be sincere in your attentiveness
From a business standpoint, by using or improving upon these three simple techniques; eye contact, smiling, and listening, you will help yourself and others in your company be able to make things happen for the best with your business.
Show them by example, leading the way for business growth.
Dan Arens is an Indiana-based business growth advisor.