John C. Maxwell
Winning with people
With new and daunting pressures on an ever-changing business environment today, it is important that we realize that everything we do in our lives involves our personal effectiveness. How we are perceived by others, how we feel about our ability to communicate, to solve problems, relate in the workplace, is based on one common denominator — relationships.
In my book, “The Top 40 Tips of Business Etiquette,” I focus on the ‘soft skills’ that CEO’s and business owners remind me every day are paramount to the ability to work with people. In the next few months, I will share these self-managed tools in hopes that you will share them with others and experience one of those “Aha” moments every day.
- Good manners are based on the Golden Rule — “Do Unto Others, As You Would Have Them Do Unto You”:
When we were hunters and gathers and began to learn about farming, we stayed in one place and set down rules thinking - If I do not steal your crops, hopefully you will not steal mine. Kindness and respect of life and property was the beginning of establishing communities.
- You have only one chance to make a good first impression:
In his book, “What Color is Your Parachute,” Richard Bolles warns that it is human nature to form first impressions. Always be prepared for those planned and unplanned encounters.
- Appearance — everything you wear makes a statement about you:
We expect ‘Adults’ to be well-groomed. The cost is minimal compared with the impression that may not say “success” and the image that clients want to see in the people they hire.
- When in doubt about what to wear, take a look at what the senior executives are wearing:
A senior executive in a corporation told me that he suspects that his associates do not have to change their clothes after work in order to be comfortable. Ensure that the ‘message’ that you are sending with your appearance shows some effort on your part and reflects your knowledge and skills.
Besides Appearance, another thing that attracts is to people is likeability. How you look does help to make a good first impression, but likeability is about how you make others feel, especially during that first meeting. A great smile is the first of five likeability signals as it attracts people and puts them at ease. Charles Schwab, Wall Street tycoon, attributes his success to his smile.
- Stand for all introductions:
It is respectful and says, “I want to meet you.”
It takes a little effort and is a universal symbol of friendship and always sends a message of welcome.
- Make eye contact:
Not making eye contact is sometimes perceived as being distrustful.
Many adults have difficulty making eye contact. If this is a problem for you, just look in the area about the person’s nose and between the eyebrows. This is called the safety zone. It works and will make you more comfortable with making those relationships so vital to your success.
- Introduce yourself:
Give your first and last name always and add any pertinent information that could lead to a discussion.
“Hello, I am John Smith from Alcatel and I work with Brad Jones, who suggested that I introduce myself.”
- Shake hands properly:
In a world where men and women are working in the same arenas, shaking hands should involve the same position – fingers closed, thumbs up, web to web with firmness and only a few pumps.
Do not be a bonecrusher or treat a female with a limp shake.
- When meeting someone repeat the person’s first name:
“How do you do, Jack?”
Repeating the person’s name several time will help to remember it.
Let me leave you with one more thought.
‘Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.’
Barbara Hickey ofMabletonis a community volunteer and owner of The Etiquette School of Atlanta.