Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Importance.


In a previous post I was talking about a debatable Free Will and how others influence most of our lives.
On a similar note, today I would like to share some things I learned about the need to feel important, which is THE ONE motivational factor for most things people chose to do in life.
Everyone is driven by the desire to feel important in the eyes of others, so many of our decisions are directly influenced by this - from the things we chose to wear daily, to the car or house we buy.

Food for thought: if you'd be completely alone on this planet, which things would instantly become unimportant, or at least drop on a very low level?

After acknowledging the power of importance, the next obvious questions are:
- how is this useful to us?
- where and how exactly can we apply this information?
Well, it is a priceless piece of information, as it reveals the proper way to talk to people and how to befriend them.
Asking people about themselves and genuinely being interested in their lives and well-being, makes even the grumpiest ones to open up to you.
Instead of talking about yourself and trying hard to get people interested in you, asking about the other person's thoughts and expectations, has a lot better and quicker results.

And it works everywhere!

Networking in a business environment starts smoother with a smile and a question about the other person's project. No matter how good your project is, praising it from the start will gather less interested people, than talking first with everyone about their own ideas.
Don't start by saying something like: let me show you how good I am. Begin by asking others about their own accomplishments.
It doesn't look like a direct approach, but that's the fun in it: a favor always returns with some extra stuff like relationships, feedback and even new ideas for improvement.
This way we found out that you don't have to work on selling your idea (everyone is already fed up with selling techniques anyway); instead, you give others what they need: a bit of attention and the feeling of importance, and you accomplish incredibly more this way.

At the supermarket, greeting and smiling at a bored cashier can speed up things, change the look on her face and generally increase the quality of the service/treatment you're receiving (be aware..it might also get you a serious punch from your girlfriend :)..).
The cashier doesn't do all these because you were nice to her, but because she feels important to you and doesn't feel anymore like a simple clerk serving the ...god knows what number of customer in that day.

I feel like I jumped in the middle of a subject without covering the basics. Here's something about conversations.
When meeting strangers, many people tend to be passive and wait for the other ones to start a conversation. Unfortunately, this doesn't work most of the time, mainly because the others might expect the same thing, or just they're not that interested in chatting.
As an "ice breaker", a sincere "how are doing today" accompanied by a hand shake, works like a charm, contrary to the simple and sometimes rushed salute: "good morning/evening.."
In an effort to make a change in my relationship with the elderly neighbors of mine, I tried this a couple of days ago: I started asking them about the dog they were walking, or about some trivial things such as weather, health, spring etc.
And now, instead of being cataloged as "that noisy motorcyclist", they put a smile on their faces when they see me (I'm talking about people that didn't have the initiative to salute me in the morning, or hardly answered properly to my salute).
With this occasion I also discovered a misconception of mine: I had this feeling that many old people don't wish or can't have small talks (especially with strangers or youngsters), that they are close minded and bored with life..
How wrong I was, you just have to get them started and then it will be hard to make them stop.
It's obvious they still have the same need as the rest of us, maybe even stronger because with the passing of years they stop being important in their circle: kids grow up and become self-sufficient, connections with other people are lost or diminished, society changes and their knowledge is not useful anymore.

With this post I just scratched the surface about one of the basic human needs. So, feel free to add your own ideas and fill in the gaps.
To anyone interested in the subject, I recommend this book: Dale Carnegie - How to Win Friends and Influence People

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2 comments:

Raine said...

I should read this book! Sometimes I have been in this "noisy motorcyclist" situation and sometimes I have cataloged other people according to by presumptions, not knowing what the thing/person is really about.

I have too many misconceptions to deal with! BUT, I am improving! I think it's the thing of living abroad.
Maybe I should write about it myself. (almost) 4 years in Italy has changed my judgment a lot.... I think!

Hell of a good topic! ;)

Razvan and Andra said...

It would be really really interesting to hear about your own discoveries and transformations, after moving from the home country (as a foreigner and as a mother).
Later you could write a book. Look.., a possible monetizing idea :)

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