Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, "Make me feel important." Never forget this message when working with people. - Mary Kay Ash
If practiced, this could be one of the most life-changing pieces of advice. In any relationship, whether it's a spouse, child, client, colleague, or casual acquaintance, the best way to make a lasting impression is to take the time to make others feel genuinely valued.
Here are four tips to help you make others feel more important.
1. Greet everyone you meet with enthusiasm
Have you ever called someone on the telephone - or met them somewhere -- and they greeted you with such energy and enthusiasm that you felt they must truly adore you? A greeting of ardent and genuine enthusiasm sets the tone for your entire encounter. It's such a simple skill (the hardest part is remembering to do it) but if you CAN remember, it will enliven all of your relationships. This skill can be particularly life-changing when practiced with your children. A simple show of enthusiasm and appreciation when a child walks in the room can have a miraculous effect on the relationship.
2. Slow down
Take the time in conversation to really listen. While someone is talking, focus on taking in what he or she is saying in words, tone, and body language instead of thinking about what you are going to say next. Relax and listen before responding. As you practice this form of deep listening, work on identifying the other person's needs. Put your own needs aside during the conversation and focus on determining what they need today. Imagine that each encounter is like a brief interlude in what may otherwise be a hectic day. Slow down and savor the connection you can make with another person, even in a casual conversation.
3. Work on remembering the details of past conversations and encounters
Ask about the things they confided to you. How did her business presentation go? How is his ailing father? It's often helpful to make little notes to remind you to ask about something or someone the next time you meet. This simple skill shows people that they are important to you.
4. Appreciate the small things people do for you
...and never pass up an opportunity to say thank you. It doesn't have to be anything fancy...a few kind words or even a simple note is plenty. Find simple and small ways to show appreciation and caring to those you love. Maybe it's bringing home takeout when your spouse has been home all day with a sick child. Maybe it's making a quick phone call to your mother. As you go through your day, be thinking of how you can take a step toward recognition and appreciation.
When you make the people around you feel important, you create a climate of trust and mutual appreciation, which can change your life in ways large and small. Try it today.