Make It Easy for Others to Give You What You Want
What do you want from others?
How good are you at giving those things? We tend to be well in tune with our own desires and needs, especially when they aren’t being met. We forget sometimes that others want, at a basic level, pretty much the same things.
You probably expect people to give you most, if not all, of the following five things. Are you giving them?
When you interact with others, you want their attention. You want them to be present, with you, in this moment. You don’t want them to be absorbed in their phones, glancing about the room looking for a better conversation to join, or staring off into space.
If you want to get people’s attention, GIVE them your full attention. This applies in one-on-one conversations as well as when presenting before a group. Don’t start your presentation while you’re scurrying about gathering up last minute items. Don’t try to get someone’s attention while you’re texting or typing up an email. Stop what you’re doing.
Don’t expect others to be fully present for an interaction you’re phoning in.
I KNOW you want time. No one ever seems to have enough time. You want:
- Time to think and process.
- Time to get work done without interruptions.
- Time off from work.
- Time with people you care about.
- Time all to yourself.
You can probably think of many more. We covet time almost as much as money.
You want time? GIVE other people the time they need. Life is measured in time. When you respect others’ time, you demonstrate respect for their lives. Tiny pockets of time, especially in stressful moments, can reap huge benefits. Ten seconds to take a deep, full breath. A five-minute break before jumping back into the fray. One whole uninterrupted hour to work on a project. When you see that people around you NEED time, do your best to give it, even if it’s just a little.
You might not think you want feedback, especially if it’s negative, but it’s awfully demoralizing to have no idea how you’re doing—at your job or in a relationship. You want to know. You want direction, encouragement, and suggestions on how you can improve. But you want that information given to you respectfully.
So, GIVE feedback, direction, and suggestions in a way that others can hear. In his TED talk, “How to Speak So That People Want to Listen” Julian Treasure states that honesty—the straight and clear truth—is a cornerstone of powerful communication, but only when it is tempered with wishing others well. Give people the truth … in a way they can hear.
The Right to Your Emotions.
“You shouldn’t feel that way.” Has anyone ever said this to you? What a ridiculous thing to say! Feelings aren’t logical or rational. They aren’t supposed to be! They simply ARE what they are, often without rhyme or reason. When you are angry or hurt or sad or scared or stressed or downhearted, the LAST thing you want to hear is, “You’re wrong for feeling that way,” even if you know you’re having an irrational response. Your feelings are real and you want the right to feel them, even when they don’t make sense.
Stop invalidating the emotional responses of others. Stop rolling your eyes. Stop huffing and grimacing. Stop withdrawing. Stop telling others they’re wrong. You want the right to feel your emotions. GIVE others the right to their emotions.
The Benefit of the Doubt.
You want grace. You want people to expect the best of you, not to immediately jump to the worst possible conclusions. You want them to give you a chance.
True generosity is more than giving money or things. It comes down to how you think about others. Be generous in your thoughts. Brené Brown, in her speech “The Anatomy of Trust,” says that being generous when others hurt you and giving them the benefit of the doubt builds trust. Look for the best in people and you’re much more likely to find it. GIVE others the benefit of the doubt and you may discover you receive more grace yourself.
The list could go on and on, of course. Give kindness. Give praise. Give respect. Whatever you want more of in your life, start giving it to others. When you do that, you make it easier for others to respond in kind.
I’m not saying you should wait for others to give you these five things. You need to claim them for yourself. Respectfully stand up for your rights. Your efforts will go a lot farther, though, if you are in the habit of GIVING these five things to others at every opportunity.