Showing Genuine Appreciation
Allowing people to feel connected to you through the power of compliments. And when I say compliments, I mean genuine compliments. Not compliments that I could make about you just by looking at you across the street, but compliments I could only give you if I was truly listening and engaged in that conversation. And I want to pull up one of my favorite quotes from Dale Carnegie, "Nothing else so inspires "and heartens people as words of appreciation." And that goes for the CEO of the company and the janitor of the company. Everyone responds well to appreciation. So, when I'm going into that event knowing that I'm going to meet people that are far more successful than me, people that I want to impress, I am going to come in with a singular focus of showing gratitude. What is it that they've accomplished that I'm so impressed by? Allowing them to feel appreciated is going to allow that connection to happen. And I want to stress that we want to choose personality traits, not physical appe...
arance when we're appreciating people. Because we want to clue them in that we're actually listening and responding to what they're saying, not focusing on their appearance. And quite simply, you're blank. We're going to fill in that blank with whatever words of appreciation about their personality we can think of. So, wow, you're so creative. You're so confident. Right, these are all compliments that when we're meeting someone for the first time, and it doesn't matter if they're above us on that ladder or below us on that ladder, they're going to respond well to, right? You're enthusiastic, adventurous. Maybe they told you about a trip they just went on, something scary that maybe you would never do. Easygoing, easy to talk to. Tenacious, right, sounds like they've been through a lot in business. If you walk up to a CEO and tell him wow, you're so tenacious. I love how you fought through adversity to build this company. He going to take a step back, right? Because almost everyone else is coming in seeking something from him. He's not expecting to be complimented and appreciated for these attributes. And the huge advantage of showing that appreciation is that now the other person is going to feel excited to show off, to impress you, to prove that that compliment was deserved. So if you ask that open-ended question, right. Why did you decide to start this company? How did you get involved in this industry? Right, now you're giving them a platform to really share and show off and puff their chest and feel good. So, always focus on personality, and then following it up with that open-ended question, as I said the why and the how. So, I know that when we're out and about there's a lot of things that we can appreciate in others. And sometimes we freeze up and we can't think of anything. So, in teaching this I've realized that we just gotta move some things to top of mind. So, you're going to see a worksheet here, three traits. I want you to identify three traits. Two of these traits are things that you value yourself. If you were to describe yourself to someone, and brag, show off, right? If you were to describe yourself to someone what two words would you use to describe yourself? I want you to write those on your sheet. And then the third trait, I want it to be aspirational. Right, maybe we lack confidence, maybe we don't feel as outgoing. So what trait would we aspire to? This exercise allows us to now to move these traits to the top of our mind so that when we're talking to people and these traits show up, (snap) we can very quickly show that appreciation about them. So as you're writing I'd love to hear what are some traits either you aspire to or traits you really value in yourself. So that the viewers at home can really get a good sense for these example traits that we're talking about.
So I think the traits I like that I have now is that I'm pretty open and like funny, sense of humor. And one of the ones that I'm working on is a little more like self-control, dedication to my goals.
Okay, excellent. What else do we got?
Just to follow up, mine are very similar. The things I value were adventurous and humorous. And the one, the aspirational one was discipline.
The ones that I value is creative and persistent. And the one that I aspire to be is being a better manager and a leader.
Fantastic. So now that we have those traits, imagine that compliment. If you value these traits in yourself, how genuine is that compliment going to be? It's going to be spot-on. It's going to hit the mark. (slaps hand) It's not going to feel fake or contrived or something you just pulled out of your back pocket that you say to everyone, right? If these are traits that you view yourself as having, when you show that appreciation, it's going to come from a genuine place. And it's going to, again, allow that person to feel good opening up. And that's what conversation is all about. We've got to break through that shell, we got to get people sharing, and then we're going to start moving into deeper and deeper subjects as we start building that connection. But we gotta start somewhere simple, right? A question about them, listen to their answer, highlight that trait, show that appreciation, and then give them another opportunity with an open-ended question to share some more. And I can tell you this as an entrepreneur myself, I love sharing the story of what we went through to build this company. So when we're talking at these events and we're meeting people who've gone through some things, who've built something, right. As the question that we got earlier was, you know, how do I talk to these people who are four or five rungs above me? I can guarantee you they love talking about that journey. They write books about it, they give speeches about it. So they're happy to share that. So we're just using very simple social cues to allow the other person to feel comfortable and start sharing with us. So now I'd love for you guys to turn and tell your partners what are these traits that we identified. Share them and have a little discussion about the traits, especially the aspirational ones. And in the last column, write down a couple action steps. What can you do to start cultivating this trait in yourself? (audience talking) Now it's tough to get you guys to be quiet. (laughing) How many of us came here feeling a little anxious today? Not sure of who we're going to meet, how we're going to talk to these people. And we just shared some appreciative traits, right? Some traits that we value in ourselves. How connected do you feel sitting next to you now? Did you feel that anxiety dissipate? If you notice, we're sitting next to each other, side-by-side, right? We're asking simple questions, nothing complicated. And then, we're sharing what we value in ourselves. And all of a sudden, conversation seems easy. It's not difficult any more. So that's what it's all about. We want to keep things simple. So now that we've identified these three traits, your homework is I want you to appreciate three people in your life for embodying these traits. Could be a phone call, could be a text message, it could be an actual conversation. But I want you to show appreciation to three people in your life. And you will be amazed at the response you get. Because a lot of us go through life not getting any appreciation. We slave away, we go in to work, we go home, and then we're on to the next day. But that appreciation stops each one of us in our tracks, wow I'm on the right path, I'm doing the right thing. So that's why it's important that we understand the traits in ourselves, but we start sharing this with others, appreciating the people in our lives. So Chris, you had a couple questions from the internet.
Yeah we had a few that came in here about the networking. So David Semansky had posted this and he said, "If everybody is in groups when you arrive to an event, "how do you jump into a group without being that guy?" (laughing) Again, so like, we've got our pairs here, but like, what if somebody walked in to one of these pairs? Like how do you get in there?
So what I love, and this is a very simple trick that I use when I go out to events, is I actually approach two people having conversation already. Because I found that the people who are standing by themselves are the people that are going to struggle the most with conversation. And if I'm a little anxious to begin with, I also don't want to be struggling and doing all the work. So I like to jump in to groups of two or three because usually at an event like this, we didn't come with a friend. We came alone, and we're looking for that, one of us is looking for that opportunity to exit, to go meet someone else, right? Because we want to meet more people. So if you approach two people that are already talking, ask them a question. Hey who do you guys know here? How did you find out about this event? You're going to give them an opportunity to exit gracefully. So that now I'm not focusing on singular people. I like small groups of two or three. And as I said earlier, with the larger groups, I like to get in there and focus my attention on the two people of either side of me. I'm not focusing across or diagonally. It's too difficult, too much cross-talk. I want to make sure that the people next to me know that I'm engaged and I'm here to have a great conversation. And you would be amazed, if you just put your attention here, get interested in the other person, they're going to make the introduction for you. Oh you've got to meet my friend Bill, he's in the same industry. Oh dude, you and Steve both went to the University of Michigan. So that's the key. I do not approach people who are standing alone when I first get there. Once I'm warmed up and I'm feeling good it's a lot easier, right? The name tags are on, maybe we've had a cup of coffee, or depending on the event, maybe a drink or two, right? So, if we're struggling with social anxiety that's the easy trick to allow us to feel good, get warmed up, and get moving. Was there any, I think you said there was another question.
Yeah there was another one here. You kind of touched on it, but a few people posed it differently but,
How specifically do you get out of those conversations that are not interesting or there's something that you're not comfortable talking about?
Nature calls. (laughing) No one is going to be insulted if you have to go to the bathroom.
And in those crowded environments no one is actually eye-tracking you. Wait AJ said he's going to the bathroom, why is he going back to the bar? (laughing) So that's my simple trick to exit those conversations.