“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie
In your role as a Service Excellence champion, you face some challenging encounters. Dale Carnegie’s classic book on management, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has a chapter on enhancing professional relationships (which can also be applied to your personal life). If you’re interested in understanding what makes people tick, this book might be for you!
The following best practices remind us that going back to basics is often the answer.
1. Be genuinely interested in other people.
Developing a sincere interest in other people shows that you care. This goes a long way when you’re working at building productive partnerships and developing the loyalty of your clients, colleagues and employees.
Pretty basic, right? In service excellence, this will win you friends automatically! Have you ever noticed how you are easily drawn to someone smiling at you, even if you don’t know them? A smile goes a long way to break the ice. Carnegie says it well in his book: “You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you!”
3. Remember that a person’s name is the most important sound in any language to that person.
Your name sets you apart and makes you unique. People put a lot of importance in their name. Just think of how it makes you feel when someone you do not know well or from higher management crosses paths with you in the hallway and says “Hi!” and uses your name. Admit it: doesn’t it feel good? Using someone’s name is as powerful as giving a compliment to someone.
4. Become a good conversationalist. Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.
“To be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering,” Carnegie writes. Just like using someone’s name is flattering to the other person, exhibiting good listening skills is also powerful. Remember that people prefer good listeners over good talkers. We all want to be heard!
5. To interest people, talk in terms of their interests.
“As all leaders know, the royal road to a person’s heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most,” Carnegie wrote. No need to add to this!
6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
When used sincerely (people can smell fakers a mile away!), this will make people like you instantly. This can be done in various ways: breaking the ice as you enter a meeting with someone new and taking interest in who they are; mentioning something you have observed or learned about that person, for example, a project this person is working on; or using proper courtesies when asking someone for help.
Nathalie Jacob – Manager, Training and Professional Development, Administrative Services