I can live one or two months
 on one good compliment
– Mark Twain
One of the deepest human needs is to feel appreciated.  It’s what makes us feel valued. It’s what makes us happy and it’s what motivates us.
We live in a culture that is appreciation deprived.  Studies show that up to 70% of workers feel they are not appreciated. But, the good news is that studies show that when you give appreciation to someone on a regular and informal basis, you will see a 40% increase in their performance. Wow!
Why don’t we do more of that?  It’s not that we don’t want to.  It’s mostly it’s because aren’t aware of what we aren’t doing, and, for most of us, we really don’t realize how great of an impact it makes. We don’t understand and how important it is to make a concerted effort to regularly practice the art of giving regular appreciation to those around us.

Communication Micro-Connects: 

One of the best ways to make simple change in this area is to focus on your communication “micro-connects.” Micro-connects are small things you can do every time you interact with someone that shows you care and appreciate them.
One of the best ways to improve our micro-connections with someone is to be a better listener. You can do that by consistently paying full attention, pausing (don’t interrupt), asking clarifying questions to make sure you understand, and using good eye contact.

Small Changes Make Big Differences

Here are some other great ways to add micro-connects to your daily interactions:

  • Change your body position to get on equal level with who you are talking to. This is important to avoid unintentionally creating a “power position” with the person you are talking with. If they are standing, stand. If they are sitting, sit down with them.
  • Smile. I’m not talking about a fake smile, but a genuine smile where the corners of your eyes crinkle. Demonstrate that you are happy to be with them.
  • Notice small things and mention them. For example, a new picture in someone’s office, new clothes, something they are carrying. Look for the details and connect with them.
  • Remember birthdays. Everyone loves to have their birthday remembered, even if they say they don’t.  Even more important it to remember birthdays for those who don’t expect you! It’s a powerful way to show you cared enough to remember something as personal as a birthday.
  • Remember names and use them. If you don’t think you’re good at remembering names, it’s probably because you are telling yourself that.  Start with the person wearing a name tag at the grocery store, and go from there!
  • Go out of your way to do something nice for someone. Hold a door, grab a coffee together. Small gestures show you care. Make them a regular daily habit.
  • Catch people doing something good and tell them (and their boss!)
  • Write a short note of appreciation or thanks. Snail mail and cards are even more significant in this age on modern technology. Take a minute, even if it’s just to write a few words on a sticky note.
  • Create fun: tell a joke, share a funny story – engage in a fun topic.  Don’t take yourself too seriously and stop and enjoy the journey.

Get out of your comfort zone and make better communication micro-connections with everyone you come in contact with. Exercise your appreciation muscle often through these simple micro-connects and they will soon become habits. You will immediately see changes in your relationships.  You’ll notice right away the differences: better engagement, responses and results!

Betty hikingBetty Lochner is the Owner of Cornerstone Coaching & Training. She specializes in personal and organizational transformation and is the author of  Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home, 52 Communication Tips, and Gladie’s Gift.  All are available on Amazon.com. To find out more about Cornerstone’s services and offerings visit our website:   www.cornerstone-ct.com