One of the hardest parts about being homeless was feeling invisible.
I felt like I was just an environmental ornament people on the street unconsciously moved past. Many of us do this daily to co-workers or strangers on the street—without even realizing it.
I use this as a reminder to acknowledge others every chance I get. To me, it’s one of the most important aspects of being an agile business leader.
Everyone craves appreciation for their work, experiences, and mere existence. By recognizing your colleagues and customers, it helps you connect on a personal level. And, believe it or not, this can majorly impact your business. It can also set you apart from your competition.
It may seem intuitive, but try putting these into practice:
- Say “hello”…and mean it – Saying hello to a person is more than just a greeting. It’s an opportunity for you to show appreciation for simply being in the company of an individual. Don’t be shy, say hi!
- Make eye contact – A wise person once said, “Eyes are the window to the soul.” When you’re having a conversation with someone, look them in the eye. You’re talking to a person, not your phone or your shoes.
- Ask how they are… and listen – There’s no better icebreaker than asking how someone is doing. Inquire about a project they’ve been working on. Or ask how their family is doing. This shows you acknowledge and value them as a person.
- Remember their name – If you don’t know someone’s name, ask. Then memorize it. This can be a challenge if you only see someone sporadically or have trouble with names, in general. But it speaks volumes if you can meet a stranger one day and greet them by name months, or even years, later. It also makes you more memorable.
- Get their contact information – Have a set of business cards on you or share your LinkedIn profile as you meet new people. Having your digital card saved on your phone makes it quick and easy to share contact info anytime, anywhere.
- Acknowledge everyone – No one knows where life will take us, so it’s smart to be respectful to anyone we come in contact with. You never know, that restaurant busboy you walked past or homeless person you didn’t see could one day be someone you’ll want to do business with.
Acknowledging others may seem small in practice, but it pays off huge dividends when done consistently and with sincerity. Maya Angelou once said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” How will people remember you?