Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Who wants to sit in your radius?

As a professional speaker, I love watching other speakers do their thing.

Especially the really, really good ones.

EXAMPLE: A few months ago I delivered the keynote address at a recruiting conference. After four standing ovations and three encores (I kid, I kid) I had some time to kill before my flight back to St. Louis. Now, this doesn’t happen to me that often, so I was pretty stoked. I ended up attending a breakout session hosted by my friend Jeff.

Why?

Well, Jeff IS one of the really, really good ones. So, I went to his session not because I wanted to learn or to take notes or get my next million-dollar idea. But rather because Jeff – this cool, successful, wealthy, happy, balanced, healthy, vastly experienced, brilliant man – is someone you just want to be in the radius of. (Can you tell I have a bit of a man-crush on him?)

Certain people, special people, don’t really have to say or do that much....

They just have to BE. And with that simple state of being, that existence, they influence you. They change you. They inspire you and teach you.

What about you? Who wants to sit in YOUR radius?

Here’s a list of 23 practices, behaviors and actions you can start implementing TODAY to increase the number of people who want to sit in your radius.

While you’re reading this list, I’d also like you to be thinking about (1) whose radius YOU want to sit in, (2) why you want to sit there, and (3) how you can emulate those traits in your own daily life.

1. Affirm people earlier. Lay a foundation of affirmation. In conversations. In sales calls. In meetings. In relationships. Ensure that people feel important, valued and validated. How are you laying a foundation of affirmation?

2. Allow people’s feelings Never under any circumstances say, “You don’t really feel that way.” People are entitled to feel however they want. You job is to dance in the moment. To respond to their present experience. When was the last time someone cried in front of you?

3. Awaken people’s curiosity. You do this by being curious yourself. By asking killer questions. By finding absolutely everything absurdly interesting. And when you’re passionate about questioning and discovering and exploring, it’s contagious. How many times a day do you say, “Huh … Now THAT’s interesting…”?

4. Bring people joy. If you concentrate on doing this at least three times a day, your life won’t just BE swell; it will swell with happiness and purpose. And so will the lives of the people you touch. Try playing the “Let’s See How Many People I Can Make Smile Today” game. How many people did you look in the eye and say thank you to yesterday?

5. Capture people’s imagination. Don’t give advice; tell stories. Don’t puke your boring company history; travel back in time with customers. Don’t give lectures; paint pictures. Einstein was right: Imagination is more important than knowledge. Are you boring people? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

6. Change people’s metaphors. When you change their metaphors, you change their language. When you change their language, you change their thinking. When you change their thinking, you rock their world. Whose thinking are you reframing?

7. Cheer people on. The more cheerleaders people have, the easier it is for them to win. For example: Ever seen The Packers play a home game at Lambeau Field in December? Insane. Even if the opposing team wins, you KNOW their players were scared shitless the whole time. Are you that supportive of YOUR people?

8. Exhaust people’s limits. Try pushing them a little harder. And a little harder. And a little harder. Don’t kill ‘em, but challenge people to create new edges for themselves. As my yoga instructor says, “Stretch their bodies and minds and souls to a point where they’re not in pain; but where pain is definitely possible.” Whom are YOU stretching?

9. Get people involved. Which is pretty easy to do, once you know what they’re passionate about. All you have to do is embed their passion into the pavement that leads the way. Then they’ll arrive quicker, healthier, happier and with more ownership because THEY created the path. Whose passion are you excavating?

10. Give people permission. To share. To open up. To be themselves. To ask questions. To fail. To be wrong. To be ignorant (not stupid, but ignorant.) To make mistakes. To kick ass. To succeed. To win. What are you giving people permission to do?

11. Hear people out. Another fun one is the “Let’s See How Long I Can Go Without Speaking” game. It’s fun, challenging, healthy and usually results in the other person making creative breakthroughs. How quickly do you interrupt people?

12. Ignore people’s titles. President? CFO? Receptionist? Janitor? Who the hell cares. The only label people should ever be called by is their name. Because they’re a human being. That’s it. Titles alienate people. Titles are overrated. Next time someone asks you something like, “So then, are you a Buddhist?” reply with, “Nope, I’m a human!” What unnecessary title is preventing people from getting to know the REAL you?

13. Keep people moving. No movement, no money. No movement, no progress. Period. You’ve got to get crackin.’ Even if it’s not much. Infinitesimal as the movement may seem, something is better than nothing. Saddle up, partner! What happened the last you’re your team stopped moving?

14. Lead people’s thinking. Be the spark; then shut up and get out of the way. Ask a few key questions; then trust people to tap their inner resources. More than likely, they’ll drum up their own solutions that are more accurate, more richly supported, more precise and more THEIRS than whatever you could have come up with. Are you an idea midwife?

15. Make people better. No, wait. I’m wrong. What I meant to say was, “The only person you can make better is yourself.” However, in so doing, perhaps your growth and increasing awesomeness will inspire others. Perhaps your minor improvements will remind them that they can do the same. Whose personal development are you inspiring?

16. Number people’s feelings. Ask them, “On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate your (X).” Sure, it sounds a bit clinical. But it’s the best way to gauge their status, get a clear reading, then figure out where to go from there. How are you objectifying people intangibles?

17. Release people’s genius. Constantly create situations that make it easy for proplr to shine. Steer the conversation into the direction of their passion and expertise, step back and watch them glow. Like playing a game of Cranium. You just smile and clap and ask them to do it again. Hooray! Bravo! Encore! Uno Mas! Are you enabling people to do what they do best?

18. Remember people’s answers. Paraphrasing is overrated. Telling people, “So, what I’m hearing you say is…” has a tendency to sound a bit contrived, almost as if you were trying REALLY hard to look like a good listener. Which, of course, means you weren’t actually listening.

SUGGESTION: Next time you’re listening to a customer or employee or family member, trying repeating their EXACT words back to them. Take notes too. I promise you: This practice will show prove that you were truly listening. How are demonstrating the size of your ears?

19. Study people’s minds. Their thought patterns. Their questions. Their reasonings. Their rationalizations. Their brain workings. Ask yourself: “I wonder what caused him to do that?” and “Hmm … what pattern of thinking is she operating from?” This will help you understand them better AND motivate your own melon. Whose brain are you dissecting?

20. Tell people why. Never assume anyone knows your reasoning for doing anything. So, don’t DEFEND yourself; explain yourself. Make your motivations and intentions crystal clear. When you tell people why, they’re more likely to (1) believe you, (2) understand you, and (3) respond TO you. Are you constantly making people aware of your Why?

21. Train people’s eyes. Ever tried to show someone how to stare at a Magic Eye poster? You probably said something like, “Just relax your eyes, soften your gaze and don’t look at anything particular.” The same process goes for life. When you’re with someone, explain your thinking process out loud as you observe. Let them hear how you process your visuals. Explain your inner monologue. Let them hear how you ask yourself questions. Whose eyes are YOU training?

22. Understand people better. It starts with maintaining an attitude of curiosity. That means exploration, not accusation; fascination, not frustration. Becoming insanely interested in why people do and say what they do and say. Then, it continues with patient listening. That means questioning. That means pausing. That means listening (and hearing) people’s language patterns and conversational tendencies. Finally, it means clarifying. Asking people if what you’ve interpreted is what they meant to communicate. Why are you listening?

23. Unlock people’s brilliance. First, you’ve got to trust that people inherently possess brilliance, buried deep beneath the surface. Second, you’ve got to be willing to divorce your ego, ask more questions, grow bigger ears and shut up quicker. Third, you’ve got to let THEM figure it out – that is, let THEM say it, know it, do it, BE it – by their own merit.

Finally, you’ve got to constantly reinforce people’s brilliance by reminding them what a Smokin’ Hot Piece of Brain Candy they really are. These four keys, when practiced regularly, will unlock the door to people’s brilliance. How can you make this person look and feel smarter?

REMEMBER: You can choose to influence people through (1) what you believe, (2) what you say, (3) what you do, or, best of all, (4) who you are.

The choice is yours.

LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Who wants to sit in your radius?

LET ME SUGGEST THIS...
For the list called, "14 Strategies to become the BEST Listener You Know," send an email to me, and I'll send you the list for free!

* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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