Shift your focus away from your internal thoughts. During my early twenties, I frequently found myself preoccupied with formulating my next response while someone else was still speaking to me. This approach is a surefire way to derail a conversation. Typically, after the person finished speaking, I would share my own thoughts, only to be met with a look of disbelief as if I hadn't listened to a word they said. Admit it, we've all experienced being in a conversation where we were more focused on planning our next response rather than actively listening to the other person. Avoid falling into this trap. By doing so, you risk missing out on important information and depriving yourself of meaningful follow-up questions or comments on the topic at hand. This disrupts the flow of conversation and emphasizes that you are only concerned with yourself rather than the other person. Redirect your attention toward them.
Remember that your energy plays a significant role. Having presented to numerous groups, including audiences as large as 300 people, I often receive feedback about how my energy and enthusiasm are contagious, setting me apart from my competitors. Your energy truly makes an impact. Consider the physical signals you send to others. Are you smiling? Or are you avoiding eye contact, crossing your arms, slouching with a pout on your face? Your energy and body language send powerful messages to people. When meeting someone for the first time, strive for strong eye contact, a firm handshake, and repeat their name with a confident voice when greeting them. Make sure that the energy you emit is welcoming and encourages people to engage with you.
Stay true to yourself. Authenticity is vital as it allows others to connect with you more easily. We all have our unique quirks, so embrace them. For instance, I enjoy infusing humor into my writing. Not everyone may find it amusing, but those who do are the people I connect with. Surprisingly, there are quite a few of them, as my articles have garnered over 14 million views. The lesson here is that authenticity pays off! Also, consider the exhaustion that comes from behaving in a manner that is contrary to your true self. Be genuine.
When uncertain, ask questions. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you struggle to think of something interesting to say because you haven't been following the specific topic being discussed? For example, a friend recently brought up the topic of the "carnivore diet." I had no prior knowledge of this diet, other than the fact that it primarily consists of meat, eggs, and certain dairy products. Instead of awkwardly commenting with my lack of understanding, I chose to ask questions. The person who was familiar with the topic was able to elaborate and we ended up having a great conversation. People love discussing topics they are knowledgeable about or sharing insights about themselves. Let them take the lead while you guide the conversation through your questioning.
Master the art of introductions with attention to detail. When I organized executive dinners in Silicon Valley, I would send an email introducing each attendee with a thorough background description, including their work experience, education, and recent accomplishments at their company. The response and engagement rates I received were remarkably high, with many executives expressing gratitude for the introduction. These introductions helped foster a sense of community rather than a gathering of strangers. The best part was that many executives continued attending my events because they valued the social connections I facilitated for them. When introducing people, pay attention to the details. Your effort will be appreciated and they will feel valued.
Lead with kindness, always. At the beginning of my career in a large fortune 1000 company, I frequently volunteered for projects to assist my team members, even when it was not required or compensated. Over time, these thoughtful actions stuck with my colleagues. As a result, one team member ultimately helped me secure my next job, which led to a 45% raise and promotion. Even during challenging situations, I have always prioritized kindness, and it has consistently proven to be beneficial. You can work hard, be productive, and excel at your job while treating others with kindness. People remember how you make them feel.
Harness the magic of recall. Oftentimes, when encountering someone again, I will bring up a topic that we previously discussed. For instance, after meeting a new friend at my workout class who mentioned her upcoming attorney swearing-in ceremony, I made a point to ask about its outcome when we next spoke. She later expressed appreciation, feeling that I genuinely cared because I remembered that specific detail. Utilize the power of recall, as it demonstrates your genuine interest and concern.