Okay. How many of you just read the title of this blogacle sounding like an alien or a robot? C’mon, I know you did. That “joke” has been around for so long, it’s just become a habit. Kind of like our own greetings to one another.
“Good morning.” “Morning.” “Good afternoon.” “How ya doin?” We say something in passing and move along. Where has the sincere greeting gone?
Many people lack the basics of your everyday meet and greet. Handshakes are weak, eye contact is mediocre and our ability to retain the other person’s name pathetic.
As a good leader, an effective greeting is a very important part of building and keeping rapport with your staff and co-workers. If you build rapport quickly you become more likable and easy to talk to. The basics for greeting someone you work with are easy:
- Use people’s names
- Make eye contact
- Speak clearly and sincerely
Say My Name
Hearing ones name is more important to people than you may think. Names separate us from everyone else. When we hear someone use our name – in a friendly manner – it makes us feel good and we respond with openness.
Eye contact is one of the most important aspects of dealing with people. Maintaining good eye contact shows respect and interest in them as an individual.
How bout that smile? Smile’s are very powerful. When you have a smile on your face your voice naturally sounds happy. It also conveys enthusiasm and enjoyment – that you actually like what you’re doing and who you’re dealing with. A smile is another good way of building rapport. And guess what? It costs you nothing. If you’re not someone who naturally smile’s, think of puppy dogs and ice cream – or something else to make you smile – a sincere smile.
In your passing greeting, how many people say something like, “How are you doing?” or “How’s it going today?”. How many of you are actually ready for a response? If someone replies we stumble. All of a sudden we have to stop walking and listen to how they’re feeling. And believe me, the person can now tell that you weren’t being very sincere. You’re going to show it in your mannerisms and expressions.
Don’t ask someone how “they’re doing today” unless you’re really interested and want to hear about it. You’ll show more respect by just saying “good morning, so-and-so” and moving along. No one wants to work for a leader that they KNOW is not really interested in them.
I Get No Respect
There’s no one who doesn’t deserve respect. People who feel respected will invest more time and energy in their jobs. Leaders build cultures. Respecting staff enough to greet them sincerely is a great way to start building.
This all reminds me of the movie “Christmas Vacation” with Chevy Chase. There’s a scene that takes place in the office where an entourage of “suits”, led by Griswold’s (Chase) boss, are all walking by and not acknowledging him, in the least. He, on the other hand, responds with his own sarcastic greetings as they all walk by, with, “Merry Christmas. Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas, Kiss my a**. Kiss his a**. Kiss your a**. Happy Hanukkah”. Funny stuff. But doesn’t it seem like that sometimes when you’re not given the respect that you should get. This is what happens when you don’t show your staff that little bit of sincerity in a decent greeting.
According to researcher Tom Rath at Gallup, the number one reason why people quit their jobs is lack of appreciation. Everyone wants to feel significant, to be recognized for what they do. Being ignored while you walk by disintegrates that feeling of recognition.
In Mark Sanborn’s book, You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader, he tells a story about how former S.C. Johnson executive vice-president, Sam Preston used to write people appreciative notes with the letters “DWD” (damned well done) scrawled across the top. At his retirement party “he was amazed at the number of people who lined up clutching wrinkled yellow pieces of paper, fifteen years old, with “DWD” scrawled across the top. That little act of recognition and appreciation meant so much to the people under him that they kept those notes all those years.”
Believe it or not, the simple caring greeting that you give acts in the same manner. It may not be a physical remembrance, but it’s a memory just the same. It’s something that people will hold onto day in and day out.
Try a little respect and sincerity. It’s up to you whether you’ll be remembered . . . or not.
Is your smile ready? Do you have a secret to remembering names? Do you remember names? Are you ready make the extra effort?
Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
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