What if we size people up wrongly during conversation?
Let’s say someone you just met was speaking to you about their favorite restaurant in the city, how would you react? How much would you invest in their communication to you?
Who knows, it depends, right?
There is a very high chance however that you would engage/feel value/and invest yourself in the conversation very differently if it was someone with a name tag from a company you are dying to work with vs. the janitor at the party who was on break vs. the most attractive person you’ve seen all year.
As it’s useless to try to change our natural biological or emotional reactions there is something we can manage that will change the way you interact with people and the depth of your social wealth. It’s your care level.
Let’s say the above conversation was delivered word for word with identical body language and vocal tonality (exclusively) by different people. Dig deep inside and be honest, what type of person would make you feel like you cared more about what they were saying than someone else?
We are pretty bad at knowing long term who to invest more into even though we draw up ideals in our head. The positive results in relationships you have had from investing in others came from a sample of these ideals rather than from everyone that came across your path.
The better hack is to care, at least initially in conversation, for a much wider spectrum of people, almost everyone. What we found at Jaunty is by caring more you unlock a lot of connections and skills. Caring more gets you tuned in to what people are saying with their language, facial expressions, other body language and voice. You start to become a reader of the magic between the lines in conversation and can more easily build connections, comfort and trust with others.
To better understand how this feels think about the different doctors you have had. Think about the ones that had higher care levels vs the ones who barely took their eyes of the computer while talking to you. Everyone feels these things in every conversation.
Ways to spark care in conversation:
- Sustain longer and deeper eye contact
- Ask for more information or a why question
- Watch his/her facial expressions and little shifts in their body
- Listen to more than just their words but their tonality, pitch and voice inflections
- Reach deep into yourself to understand what they are feeling and let your body and face react to those feelings (smiling, frowning, narrowing the eyes)
- Connect what they are saying to positive associations that you have on the topic
We all love to think ourselves as caring people, and we are. But what do you think our percentages are per person we encounter? Well, Eric, I can’t care for everyone! Yes you’re right, I’m first asking that you care about what people are expressing to you, I mean, you’re already in the conversation anyway. You then naturally start caring more for the person.
When you get good at this, you can read other people’s care level almost immediately, and can adjust your conversation as needed. Gary Vaynerchuk is a master at this, and I do believe his engagements are as fulfilling to him as he says they are, mostly because he manages a high level of caring. He might not seem very joyful, but he is very rich with relational wealth and fulfillment internally and externally.
It’s not about faking caring, but finding caring.
You can practice your caring, just like anything else.