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How to Make People Flock to You Like Bees to Honey

May 12, 2009

1. Give others space to be who they are. First, set the tone by giving yourself space to be who YOU are. That’s the hardest part. Owning your Truth and letting it shine – even if parts of it aren’t perfect.

Second, honor and respect the distinctiveness of others. For example, when someone shares his passion – especially when it’s something unusual, obscure or completely opposite of what you do (birding, for example) respond with, “Cool!” or “Wow!” These complimentary, yet objective words will invite the other person to share more, thus eliminating the possibility that he will remain mediocre.

Third, shut up. If you want to give people space to be who they are, just stop talking. Silence is the great arbiter of Truth. Your goal is to learn to play the game called, “Let’s See How Long I Can Get This Person To Talk About What They Love.”

This grants people permission to dig deep inside themselves and express what’s alive and true. And the best part is: You always win. And so does the other person. Because once people have clearly communicated who they are, they can relax.

Remember: People need to feel assured that they can be themselves around you. Are you granting others space to talk? Are you granting others space to BE? And what would happen to your career if you became known as the best listener in your organization?

2. Meet and touch people where they are. No judgments. No evaluations. No appraisals. That’s approachable. And, I know: “Not judging people” is easier said than done. Fine.

Try this: Articulate what’s occurring. Say what you see. Verbalize your observations. Respond to someone’s immediate experience and dance in the moment with language like, “I noticed,” “It looks like,” and “I have an observation.”

Doing so helps you observe without accusing, insinuate without imposing and describe without prescribing. What’s more, “saying what you see” is objective, non-judgmental, non-comparison based and emotionally unreactive. It’s a statement of observation. An impartial piece of feedback that doesn’t challenge someone’s character or attitude, it simply meets them where they are.

Best yet, it prevents the possibility of leaving somebody feeling unheard. What is this person experiencing because of what is happening? How is it possible that this person could think or behave in this way? And under what circumstances would it make perfect sense to do so?