I am, like many others in this country, extremely popular during election season. Just this morning, two people running for office next Tuesday were thrilled to meet me, were interested in how I was feeling, how things were going, and hoping I’d join them on election day to vote for, um, them. Every one of them communicated with me without making eye contact and quickly moving on to the next person, without waiting for my answer (such as, I’m not fine actually. I have a headache and my coffee machine broke this morning. Thanks for asking.) These campaigners might be genuine people and possibly great representatives of my town, but they are committing a communications faux pas every time they ask dismissive questions. Are you doing the same thing? When you ask people how they’re feeling — do you listen to their response? When you ask your boss or your client or your colleague how you can help them — do you really mean it? When someone asks how you’re doing, do you dare to tell them the truth? Now more than ever, we need to listen (to our customers, our employees, our friends) and engage in honest two-way communications. And don’t forget to make eye contact.
– Diane Schwartz