How to Make People Feel Important

in Relationships

Making people feel important and respected is an effective method of building good inter-personal relationships. Every one of us has an innate need to be respected for who we are and what we have achieved. Often, when someone is uncooperative or acting out, it is because that person feels that he or she has not been accorded the proper amount of respect. Making people feel respected can deepen your important relationships, and help you achieve success in both your career and your personal life. That is why you need to learn how to make people feel important.

My mother has been a real estate agent for over twenty years. In all that time, she has never taken out a personal advertisement, yet she has a thriving business and is never out of properties to sell. One hundred percent of her business is derived from word of mouth, when one satisfied customer tells his or her friends about her business. She achieved her success not by charming her clients with flattery, but through making clients feel that their needs and desires are important, and with simple and honest advice during the house-selling process. Here are some tips that I’ve gathered by observing her over the years.

How to make people feel important

Take the time to listen
The one thing that princes and paupers have in equal measure is time. If you value someone, you take the time to listen. This is a simple and timeless principle. During a conversation, speak less and allow the other person time and space to direct the conversation towards topics which are important to him or her. Everyone likes the sound of their own voice. Do not be impatient. Often, we are shy about discussing important events or needs, and need a certain amount of conversational runway to get to the things we care about. If you learn how to be a patient listener, you’ll find yourself increasingly in demand as a friend, and you’ll make the other person feel appreciated and important.

Remember the details
There is no point in having a conversation if you remember nothing about it. Have you ever asked your teenaged child about his day at school, only to hear “What’s the point? You never remember anything anyway!” He is correct, of course. If you don’t remember the important details, then the conversation is basically a waste of everybody’s time.

In his book “The Tipping Point”, Malcom Gladwell describes a personality type known as a Connector, who are basically people who have a powerful urge to connect with others. Connectors collect people the way others collect stamps. He describes a particular Connector named Roger Horchow, who has a database on his computer collecting details of 1600 people. Each person has an entry describing how Horchow met him, and all relevant details he collected since then. That database is how Horchow remembers the address of his best friend growing up, the name of the man his college girlfriend had a crush on when she spent her junior year overseas, and the names of the boys he played with sixty years ago.

We don’t have to go to these extremes, of course. Most of us don’t have that high a number of friends. Most people have several close friends, maybe twenty or so good friends, and a hundred or so acquaintances. But already, that is too large a number to keep all the details in your head. Spend a weekend downloading everything you know about your friends into a book or a computer. Then, acquire a habit of jotting down notes about important conversations that you’ve had, right after the conversation. My mother carries a small book that she jots things down on after talking, which she then transfers to a journal at night. Once you have acquired this habit, you’ll be surprised at what you remember, because the simple act of writing something down increases memory retention, and of course, if you know that you’ll be meeting someone in advance, you can always glance at your journal entry and refresh your memory. Your friends will be surprised at what you remember about their lives, and feel appreciated and flattered. Knowing details about a friend’s life also makes striking up conversations easier. You never have to wonder about what to say again.

Do not gossip
Never. Not ever. Regard everything that you hear about the other person as being told in confidence. You never repeat what was said. You never insinuate that you know salacious details about other people. Every one of us know people who are gossips, people who traffic in titillating rumors and details about personal lives. Do you regard any of these people as close friends? If you gain a reputation as a gossip, you will only attract voyeurs who delight in probing other people’s personal business. Serious and decent people will avoid you like the plague. Any and all trust that you’ve built up over the years will be destroyed in a single stroke. So, again, never ever gossip.

Send a card
Simple gestures during the holidays, and during important events in a person’s life, say that you are interested in their lives and that they are important to you. If someone is getting married, send a card to congratulate him or her, and he or she will appreciate that you remembered the event. Christmas cards are a simple yet effective method of conveying to others that they are in your thoughts. One of two lines of handwritten greetings will do. The lines do not have to be very clever or special; even a generic line will do, as long as its handwritten and signed. It’s the thought that counts. Cards are often more effective than gifts. Gifts may create an obligation on the other party’s part to return the favor, which may actually create annoyance. So don’t go overboard. The simple card is usually best.

With the above tips, you should have no problems making someone feel that he or she is important to you.


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