Do You Want to Have Influence on Others?
Recently I was on a trip that was part business part leisure.
As I was considering what book I should take for my travels, I decided on a classic: How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Instead of starting from the beginning, I decided to select specific chapters to read.
I wanted to be very intentional and test the concepts I read in the book to see if they really worked.
On the flight I read two chapters and would like to share a few thoughts here with you.
How to make a good first impression
This chapter discussed the power of greeting others with a smile.
I know, it seems cheesy right?
By nature, this is not natural for me.
It’s not that I am not happy to see others, I just have a more serious demeanor.
A smile feels forced, whereas a simple salutation is more natural for me.
I have compared how I greet individuals with others who have a more natural smile, and the difference is considerable in my opinion.
I will talk more about putting this into action during my trip here in just a bit.
If you don’t do this you are headed for trouble
The principle in this chapter addressed how important it is to remember and say other people’s names.
Again, nothing profound here.
How often have you heard others say, “I am sorry, I am terrible at remembering names,” or “what was your name again?”
I am sure we have all said this at some point – I know I have many times.
Can you remember the last time you heard someone address you by your name?
Pay close attention to next time they do.
Our names are important to us, and when we hear someone use it, it has a significant impact on us.
You want to capture someone’s attention, use their name!
This chapter said that those who cannot remember other’s names are at a considerable disadvantage to those who can.
The Implementation of These Two Principles
During this trip I wanted to make a significant effort to implement both of these principles – and I especially wanted it to be sincere as I did so.
I think if we are not careful, without sincerity, it can take on a form of manipulation.
Here are a few examples of what I noticed as I used them:
On our first night here, I was introduced to an older couple.
During that conversation, I repeated their names in my mind to make sure I would remember them. We had a quick pleasant conversation.
A few days later we saw this couple again - just outside of the resort. I greeted them both with a smile and said their names.
The husband looked at me bewildered. I could see he was trying to remember how we knew each other.
After a short pause, he said “now remind me, how do we know each other.”
My impression was that he was concerned that he should have known me a lot better than what he was remembering. He was thrown off by someone remembering his name.
When I explained when we had met, he seemed at ease. He knew that it was a simple interaction from a few days prior.
When we do something that is uncommon, it has a significant impact on others – and I noticed that with Brent and Heidi.
Remembering their names gave him the impression our relationship was more significant than it was.
On another, occasions we were at a café having breakfast.
Again, I greeted our server and used her name as frequently as possible.
It’s a lot easier with someone that has a name tag on, so I didn’t necessarily feel like her name had a impact on her, but I did notice this interaction had impact on those who were with me.
Our conversation was not surface deep, it seemed as though everyone there was interested in getting to know this individual.
It started with a smile and the use of her name.
A few days later, one member of our party said, “out of all the people we have met, I enjoyed Eva the most.”
I think it is so uncommon for us to genuinely interact with other we don’t know, so when it does happen, it has a significant impact on us.
We crave that bond more than we realize.
During the course of our trip, I saw members of my party start to have more of these meaningful conversations.
As the course of our trip progressed, not only did I start to enjoy these meaningful interactions, they also became more natural and heartfelt.
On another day, we had a catered poolside lunch. Again, I had a cool experience that started with a genuine smile and the use of someone’s name.
This server’s name was Dennis.
My wife and I greeted him, used his name, and asked where he was from.
We had a pleasant conversation about his home country.
Dennis was very quiet at first, but as the conversation progressed he became warm - it was almost like a light switch.
Not only had we greeted him with a smile and used his name, but we genuinely got to know him.
Later that night, at another event, this man came up to greet us.
He wanted to continue our conversation from earlier that day.
This time he greeted us with a smile – and it immediately had an impact on me.
It felt like we were old friends.
There were many more examples of this from my trip.
Not only did I see others responding differently to me as I used these two principles, I saw something more significant happen.
I saw a change inside of myself.
I was worried about it being unnatural and insincere, but as the trip progressed it became second nature.
For someone who is more introverted by nature, I saw myself enjoying these interactions with others.
I believe it added greatly to the enjoyment of my trip.
I have no doubt – especially doing it consistently for the better part of a week – that these two principles alone can have significant impact on us and those around us.
If you want to see your relationships with others improve, these two concepts are a great place to start.
Thanks for reading,
Darron Rowley - Founder of Freedom Elements