In eighth grade, Karen Parkin, who was in two of my classes, made my heart flutter. She was smart, beautiful, funny, and kind. During the last week of school, I gathered up the courage to ask for her phone number. She smiled at me and said, "Sure." With a Number 2 pencil, she wrote her first and last name and the number. That was on Monday. On Friday I finally called her. "Karen, this is Mark Matteson." "Hi Mark. I was hoping you would call." I beamed. "Would you like to go bowling with me on Saturday?" After a pause that felt like an hour, she replied, "I would LOVE to, but we are moving to San Francisco on Saturday!"
That was the most painful and meaningful lesson I had learned up to that point in my life. Maybe that's why my first book was entitled Freedom from Fear.
Almost every day, someone I do not know asks me to "Like" him or her on Facebook. Not once have I ever done it. That's like asking someone to marry you on the first date. It's like a chirping baby bird in a nest, hungry and calling out for what it needs without regard for anything else. It's narcissistic, self-centered, and as my late English mother used to say, "Bad form!" I don't know you, trust you, or even know if you are halfway competent. Why would I risk my reputation on your thoughtless request? Why should I like you?
What if, instead, you tried the following Five Simple Behaviors that will guarantee people will "LIKE YOU" in person and online?
- Remember the other person's name and use it in conversation, but not too much! It's the sweetest sound in any language. We all love to hear our name.
- Be sincerely interested in other people FIRST. Ask questions about things that are important to them. Ask about their children, how they met their husband or wife, or where they went on their first date. LIKE them first!
- Dominate the listening and resist the temptation to talk about yourself. See if you can get them to talk for 30 minutes without them noticing. Your turn will come. The time will fly by for them.
- Smile and lean forward while you listen. Occasionally say, "And then what happened?" or "No way, what did you do then?"
- Make the other person feel important. "You must be proud of your daughter." or "That's an incredible story." Be genuine.
Joe Girard, the greatest salesman of cars in America, used to send postcards to his clients that simply read, "I like you."
The best teacher I ever had in school, my German teacher, Susan Hall, taught me, "Everyone has a story. Your job is to find out what that story is." Forget closing the sale; try instead to open the relationship.
Here are five lessons from the TV show Seinfeld. Avoid these social faux pas:
- Stop finishing other people's sentences.
- Speak up. Don't be a 'low-talker.' Allow yourself to be heard with confidence.
- Avoid being a 'close-talker.' Be aware of distance and comfort zones.
- When you are wrong, promptly admit it. Be honest. Authenticity attracts.
- Avoid contests of any kind, cock fights, recycling bottles, and colognes that smell like the beach.
Everyone you meet, from eight to 88 years of age, is looking for three things: Appreciation, Respect, and Understanding. A.R.U. Are you habitually giving these three simple things to the people you meet?
I wonder if Karen still lives in San Francisco. Chances are she doesn't remember that phone call. I will never forget it.
Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to: www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.