I hope you are able to, and take the time to, read this post on the importance of acknowledging others – in business and in life.
In this specific article linked above, the author describes how as a young child, Rickey Henderson – then an outfielder with the New York Yankees – winked at him as he was leaving the baseball field in between innings. That wink alone led the author to become a huge fan of Henderson’s and the author detailed how his mother purchased Henderson products and how he influenced his friends to purchase products and the net effect of that wink was money in Henderson’s pocket (he receives a share of items purchased in his name or his likeness).
Fast forward to 2014, and the author comments on the importance of a wink, or ;) in social media and how it can also have the same impact on people.
I completely agree.
The most effective way to interact with people is to, well, interact with people. Saying hello, nodding, winking, waving, or in today’s cyber-society with a wink, or a smiley face or even by personalizing emails through the adding of terms like; “Hope you are well”, “Warm Regards” or “All the best”. These little additions tell the person on the other side that they are being acknowledged and by taking the time to do that you have an ally.
To that point, a personal story.
I had been working at the Toronto North Tax Office of the Canada Revenue Agency for 2 1/2 years and had become accustomed to putting my head down as I walked through the building as others do. I have always been great with faces but terrible at remembering names, and it was easier to pretend there was no one there or that I was distracted so I didn’t have to say hello or remember a name.
Then one morning as I left the subway and walked towards the office, someone walked by me and said, “Good morning Warren!”,
Much to my surprise – and I am nowhere near shy or introverted – I looked up, did not recognize the face, but said hello back and then out of my mouth came this; “I’m sorry. Normally I am great with faces but I cannot remember where I know you from.”
He responded; “I’m Mark. You trained us last week on Director’s Liability. Great class. I learned a lot.”
It was that moment when I decided that I needed to acknowledge people too. Stop walking with my head down. Stop looking busy. I needed to learn people’s names and a fact or two about them to show them I care and help bring the office closer.
From that morning on, I saw and addressed each and every person I came across by their name (or what I suspected was their name). If I called them by the wrong name, they would just correct me, right. :)
For the next 9 years, I became that guy at the CRA. The guy who knew “everyone”. The guy people came to with questions, and for advice. The guy who liked the people he worked with because he took the time to get to know them and as I moved into leadership roles, I was best able to get the most out of all my staff because I knew their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. I wanted what was best for the CRA, but also best for the employees and if there was a dispute, there was that trust that I was not going to steer them wrong and it would benefit them in the end.
I took the time to wink. Just like Rickey Henderson did, and it paid off exponentially.
Today, take the time to say hello to people you would not normally talk to. Not too long, but just enough to let them know you care. Or send an email that is a little less impersonal and a little more warm.
You will feel great and so will they!