This last week, I found myself in a conversation with a good friend in Spokane, Washington. Each week he and I record a 20 minute “life lesson.” We began with the first letter of the alphabet and each week have developed themes based on the sequential order of the alphabet. This week our topic was “influence” and the premise was shaped by service. The best way to gain influence is to seek first to serve. Service is motivated by sincerity which leads to trust.
Think about the last time someone asked you about your priorities. When were you last given the opportunity to articulate for someone the primary project that you were working on over the next 6 months. Have you ever been asked that question? If you have not, then I would encourage you to ask it of someone that are trying to make a favorable impression upon. The way in which you offer your help will affect the way in which you are received. If you lead with authenticity you will need to actually listen to what is being shared when you ask the question. You will need to maintain eye contact and resist the urge to interject. If you can practice your sincerity, your results will be rewarding.
So here it is, outlined in sequential order:
1. You pick up the phone and call the person you would like to meet. (Notice how I said “call.” This is no time for an email or text invitation, particularly when we’re talking sincerity!)
2. You ask for a short face to face meeting, but if you are met with an objection you can just as easily convey over the phone. (This will require that you pay extra close attention to your tone of voice since you will not have the benefit of maintaining eye contact.)
3. You ask the question: “____________, what is your primary focus for the next 3 to 6 months in the event that I or someone I know might be able to help?”
4. Shut up and listen!
5. Take notes. The act of breaking eye contact to physically record what you are hearing the person share with you is an incredible sign of respect and sincerity. It communicates to the person that you are genuinely interested in what he or she has to say.
6. Articulate back to the person what it is that you just heard them say.
7. DO NOT MAKE A PROMISE IN THE MOMENT THAT YOU KNOW YOU CANNOT DELIVER UPON.
Its that simple, but its not easy…
Superficiality is easy. It is very easy to offer your help in the moment because it sounds good. It is very easy to agree to something that carries no consequences. Unfortunately, if you get on this track and fail to take notice of your true intentions you will quickly develop the reputation of unreliability. If you make promises to sound good in the moment, you will be found out. Superficiality is a tremendous character flaw and its not one that you want to be labeled with. So remember the next time you are inclined to make a promise and ask yourself “am I really willing to commit to what it is was that I said I would do.” If you can answer that question for yourself before making the ask, you rescue your sincerity and skip the situation that will lead to superficiality!