The other night I was speaking about presenting oneself in different venues - informal (a cocktail party), intentional (a networking event) and formal (an interview). Somehow I mentioned two of the three things human beings love to hear, and I watched as the audience's faces showed signs of deep connection and agreement. As receivers, we know how much these simple phrases mean to us. As deliverers - why aren't we saying them more?
1. Thank you
We all love to feel appreciated. Even when we think we don't really need the thank you, it's always, always great to hear it. (Or read it in a note, email, or even text). Thanking people for things small and large can make their day. A sincere thank you, delivered with eye contact is priceless.
2. I'm sorry
This one is way way tougher for folks to say, and equally important for the potential recipient to hear. I'm not advocating apologizing all over the place for, like, breathing. Those kind of apologies don't show remorse or sorrow, they show tremendous insecurity and need for attention on the part of the apologist. I'm also not talking about presenters apologizing to audiences for things otherwise invisible to them, like slides being in the wrong order. Apologies like those only distract audiences from your message - never a good thing. I'm talking about really apologizing for something you did wrong; deliberately or inadvertently. And the best part about saying "I'm sorry" is that it makes the deliverer feel as good - or better - than the recipient!
3. Their name
When we call someone by name we immediately personalize whatever comes after. We remind them we know exactly to whom we are speaking. Especially these days, when all of us are so constantly distracted by cell phones, computers, radio and TV, it's important to let the person to whom you're speaking know that you know their name!
Do you have other suggestions for things humans love to hear? Weigh in!