I read an article on Inc.com tonight; it was related to how you can motivate and make someone’s day. Motivating and recognising people are topics I talk about in my book The Power of Wow! Why Thank You Makes Dollars & Sense.
I’ve worked in the corporate world for over 17 years, and the little things we did for people 10 years ago to say, “thank you” practically no longer exist. In this hyper-connected economy relationships, career, and family life leave us time-poor, frazzled and more inclined to forget to say, “thank you.” Recognising someone or making their day is simple, and I recommend you take the time to stop and appreciate individuals.
In the article, Jeff Haden mentions key steps to making someone’s day.
He talks about how “Smiles are nice.” “Cards are nice.” “Gifts are nice.” All the “standards” are nice-and all, at least in part, are somewhat expected.
I question whether gifts, cards or smiles are “standard” now-a-days, however, I truly believe they should be.
Haden goes on to outline that, if you really want to make someone’s day, do the unexpected. It’s not hard. Little things truly can go a long way.
I completely agree with that statement and really all it takes is a tiny bit of effort and time. Let’s look at some simple steps, suggested by Haden from his article.
1. Be thoughtful, simply because you can.
Haden describes how he pulled into a service bay to get his oil changed. As he got out of the car one of the techs said, “Man, those are nice wheels… too bad they’re so dirty.” He smiled, just teasing.
“I know…” Haden said. “My next stop is the car wash.” Then he went inside to wait.
When he walked toward my car to leave the guy was just standing up, filthy rags in his hand. “Took some work, but I got ’em all clean,” he said. Every rim sparkled. Every speck of brake dust was gone.
“Wow, that’s awesome… but you didn’t have to do that,” Haden said.
“We’re not very busy,” he shrugged. “I had time. Figured I would make ’em look better.” Just then a car pulled into another bay, so he hustled away, saying over his shoulder, “Have a good day.”
That was four years ago. However, Haden still hasn’t forgotten it. (It made such an impression that he got cupcakes from a nearby shop and dropped them off for all the employees to share.)
Instead of turning idle time into “me time,” use your free time to do something nice: Not because you might be expected to, but just because you can.
Haden also pays the good gesture forward too, by doing something nice for the employees of the workshop – he gave gifts to the employees.
2. Say who referred you.
We all get recommendations from friends or colleagues. Sometimes we act on them.
When you do, say so. Tell the owner John referred you. Tell the manager Mary said the food was awesome, and you just had to try it. Say Mark said you won’t find better service anywhere else.
The person you tell will feel good because it’s a double compliment, one from you and one from the referrer. They’ll feel good because they’ll know their hard work is appreciated, which is nice, and that their hard work is paying off–which is even nicer.
And John, Mary, and Mark will appreciate it because they’ll know you respect their opinion, and because you helped make their professional relationship with another business a little more personal.
3. Compliment for something you aren’t expected to compliment.
Haden tells how he was third in line to order a smoothie. The guy at the front of the line was huffing and puffing and threatening to blow the shop’s house down because, I don’t know, he could. He left in a huff (albeit a huff insufficient to blow said smoothie shop down.)
The kid behind the counter stayed nice, stayed polite, and stayed professional. It was an impressive performance for a high-school student working a part-time job.
Haden tells how the woman in front of him placed her order. Then she said, “You know; you handled that really well.”
The kid was startled. “Um…” he stammered.
“No, really,” she said. “He was being a jerk. However, you handled it perfectly. I have customer service professionals working for me that would not have done nearly as well as you did. You should be proud of yourself.”
“Thanks,” he said. He turned to make her smoothie, his shoulders a little broader and his back a little straighter.
Every-day people around you do-good things. Most of those people don’t work for you; in fact, most of them have no relationship with you, professional or personal. Compliment them for something they would least expect.
Expected feels good. Unexpected makes a huge, and lasting, impact.
4. Give someone credit they don’t deserve–yet.
Haden mentions how he went out for wrestling in ninth grade. He was nervous, scared, intimidated… pick any fearful adjective, and he said that was him.
A week or so into practices he heard the coach talking to one of the seniors. “That kid there,” he said, meaning Haden “Will be a state champion, by the time he’s a senior.”
He was wrong—Haden wasn’t–but in an instant, he felt more confident, more self-assured… and incredibly motivated. He mentions how those feelings lasted for a long time; someone believed in him.
When you see a person struggling, give them hope. Let them know you see something in them that they don’t yet see – even if, sometimes, you don’t yet see it either.
Belief, founded or unfounded, is incredibly powerful–and when someone else believes in us, it’s unforgettable.
I truly believe that the simple things in life are often the most effective. Don’t let your frazzled, hectic, demanding lifestyle get in the way of saying, “thank you”; take the time and you’ll see the difference it can make to yours and other people’s life.
I believe there has never been a better time to make someone’s day, do something nice that is unexpected.
Something I often do when I see a homeless person is go and buy them food or water from a nearby store. It only takes me a few minutes; however, I leave knowing that for a brief moment, I made a small difference. I never just give them money, because I can’t control what they spend the money on, and most likely food would be the last thing they buy.
It’s the simple things we do, that make a difference in someone’s life.
Try it and see how it feels.