Developing Your Career


Four Ways to Make the People You Work With Feel Valued

By Lee Hecht Harrison on May 18, 2015

A steady stream of information from mobile devices is leaving many people to feel overwhelmed, unfocused and rushed. The struggle to take it all in may be negatively impacting the quality of our communication skills. This can be detrimental whether you’re in a job search, working with colleagues or trying to impress a client. Are you allowing the disruptions and distractions of your mobile devices to send the wrong message—and damaging the impression you’re making?

In her article, First Impressions: You’ve Got 30 Seconds To Make The Right One, Kathy Ver Eecke outlines some of the “small clues” that can create a big impression. One of the most important is “attentiveness”—making people feel like the center of attention. Attentiveness can differentiate you from the vast number of workers who find it difficult to engage in a short conversation without diverting their attention to vibrating phones, pinging emails, random thoughts, or people passing by.

Here are four tips that will show you how to be more attentive—and demonstrate that the person you’re talking to is important and valued:

  1. Focus. Don’t glance at your mobile device to check for incoming texts, emails, posts or calls. In a world where multi-tasking has gone off the charts, listening is becoming a lost art. Averting your attention mid-conversation will make your colleagues feel devalued.
  2. Ask questions. People are flattered when you show interest. Questioning will keep you engaged in the conversation, and give you the opportunity to gain a better understanding of your colleague, client or interviewer.
  3. Think and reflect. Be deliberate and give yourself time to process information before rushing in with a response.  Miscommunication is often the direct result of people talking over one another, rather than listening and giving thoughtful consideration to what’s been said.
  4. Use positive nonverbal cues. Show your listening skills by leaning into the speaker, establishing eye contact and nodding in acknowledgement.

Basically, attentiveness is a way to demonstrate respect—and everyone wants to feel validated and understood.  As American author and poet Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

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