I recently finished reading John Maxwell’s “25 Ways to Win with People”, which I found to be very helpful in my quest to improve my relationships.
There are 25 points in the book but I wanted to share two insights that made the most impact on me:
1) Make the person feel like a million bucks
We naturally tend to want to make ourselves feel good, but if we want to attract other people, we should shift our focus from making ourselves feel good to making others feel good about themselves.
Maxwell’s advice got me brainstorming about the ways I could make the person I’m talking to feel like a million bucks. Some ideas I had:
a) Listen with full attention. Be genuinely interested, utterly fascinated by what your friend is saying. Ask questions, nod your head, listen with rapt focus, be enthralled by what the person you are talking to has to say.
b) Listen to understand, not to respond. I’m usually afraid of silence in conversation, so my natural reaction is to think of what I can say when my friend finishes talking. The problem with this is since I am thinking of what to say instead of fully turning all my attention to listening to what my friend is saying, I’m not giving my friend my full focus. I’ve resolved to let go of my fear of silence and give my full attention to listening to what my friend has to say, putting my focus on understanding instead of responding.
c) Compliment others. During conversations, I now try to actively, aggressively seek for any opportunity to praise the person I am talking with. I especially try to compliment my friends in front of others, as the feel-good factor of a compliment increases exponentially when you praise the person in public.
2) Let people know that you need them
Before I read Maxwell’s advice to let people know that I need them, I always felt bad about needing people. As a single, I have a fear of being lonely. I actively seek out friendships because of my fear of loneliness, yet often I feel guilty about making friends to relieve my loneliness because I feel that my loneliness is a weakness that I have to overcome, that I shouldn’t depend on people to help prevent the pain of being alone. It was a relief to read Maxwell’s advice, he tells us that people like to feel that they are needed, they like leaders to tell them – “I can’t do it without you”. Maxwell writes – “Leaders can become great, only when they realize that they are the ones who need people…let them know you helped…It’s not a sign of weakness to let others know you value them. It’s a sign of security and strength. When you’re honest about your need for help, specific with others about the value they add, and inclusive of others as you build a team to do something bigger than you are, everybody wins.” Maxwell’s advice has inspired me to tell my friends that I need them to help me overcome my loneliness and made me feel comfortable about reaching out to others for help when I’m feeling lonely.