Simple and Powerful
One of the simplest, yet most effective, suggestions I find myself making to my clients is to optimize the first seconds of any encounter. Sociologists tell us that the first moments of a meeting set the tone for the entire interaction, and I have found this to be true without exception.
It’s a little bit like setting the dial on a radio. If you turn on the radio and do nothing else, it will default to where it was when you last turned it off. In the case of a meeting with someone, this translates to the feeling between you bearing shades of the last time you parted. This is fine if you were delighted with your last interaction, but not so fine if you weren’t. Greeting a person with a warm smile and the expectation that you will receive the best of them will immediately set the tone for a successful encounter.
If you are meeting someone for the first time, it is likely that you will project assumptions and expectations onto them, and they onto you. You can circumvent that by greeting the person with a smile, in an open and friendly manner. That way, you are telling them what to think about you and saving them the trouble of figuring it out for themselves. You are also setting the tone for a friendly interaction.
So often my clients tell me that they take their spouse or partner for granted, greeting them in a hurried or offhand manner then rushing off to do something else. When I ask them what their life would be like without that person, they often tell me they would be devastated. Yet their greetings reflect none of the value they place on that person. Frankly, I am amazed by that!
Alternatively, people tell me that their relationships are immeasurably enhanced by the simple act of greeting their partner in a warm and friendly way, being very present, making eye contact and welcoming that person into the moment. They are often astonished at the difference that one simple action makes to the quality of the relationship.
This is equally true when dealing with personnel at the grocery store or post office. A warm smile and greeting can make a huge difference to the quality of service received and the successful outcome of the transaction. A warm greeting tells that person that they are seen and valued, and that can put a different and happy spin on their whole day, making it much more likely they will serve you well.
I invite you to experiment with this simple change and see what happens!