Communicating that you value people over projects is simple, but it requires you to be intentional and disciplined. I know your life is a blur of projects – important ones I’m sure – so, here are my favorite ways to communicate that I value people more than projects.
Stop and look
When someone bursts into your office to ask you a question or tell you random report about their day all I want to scream is “Good grief. I don’t care. I just want to get my work done!” But I’ve heard it said, one man’s trash is another person’s treasure. And, more often than not when my siblings interrupt me with what I see as trash it’s actually their treasure. I don’t have to value what they’re sharing, but I can value that they’re sharing their treasure with me.
Schedule sibling time or friend time
When you’re trying to meet deadlines it’s frustrating to schedule coffee dates and listen to your siblings paper. Sometimes, in order to be responsible you need to say ‘no,’ but it’s easy for others to feel like you’re always saying ‘no.’ So, schedule friend time and family time. When you say ‘no’ let them know when your scheduled friend/family time is. Not only does this protect your projects, but it also communicates that you value people so much you’ve set aside time for them!
Don’t text when you’re meeting with someone
I know it’s tempting to tap your screen so your friend doesn’t feel like you’re ignoring her, but what about the person sitting across the table from you? Don’t encourage her to question her value just for the sake of your friend who is texting fifty miles away. In the end you’re actually valuing your own time more too when you allow yourself to fully invest in the present. Add value to not only your friend’s life but also your own, by talking face to face without texting in between.
Use their name
The most precious word in the world to any person is there own name. Whatever you do, use the name of the person you are talking to. If you just met someone and you’re not sure you got his or her name right, ask for clarification. They will be thankful you value their name enough to make sure you get it right, because, after all, there is no sweeter sound than a persons own name.
Smiles communicate pleasure, joy, and excitement. When you smile at someone you’re telling them you’re happy to see them. This tool doesn’t take any time at, just a few muscles. As you pass someone on your way into the gym – smile. While you’re checking out at Walmart, smile at the cashier. Smiling is my favorite tool because you can add value to people’s lives you’ve never met.
The way we value people through stopping and looking, talking without texting, scheduling specific time, using names, and smiling often determines the worth they unconsciously give themselves. You’ll never regret a moment you were intentional and disciplined enough to value people over projects.
P.S. What tool are you going to practice this week?