Humans are designed with an innate ability to connect with other people. We are social creatures and we form our strongest bonds with those people whom we trust and who we know care about us. This element of care permeates all relationships including the ones we form in business.
I use the acronym CARE a lot and below is one of the expansions of the concept of CARE:
Connect on common ground. Before launching into an instruction or sales pitch “see” the person! Find something in common – be it weather, an event, sports results, hobbies, schooling, adventures, travel, kids – find a point of connecting. When I know that you see me as a person not a position or ‘just a number’ then I will be more responsive.
Ask questions to ensure understanding & answer questions to reassure and educate staff and clients. Genuine questions show you are interested in “me” – your team member, your client, your supplier. When my opinion is sought and my input is truly heard and acknowledged, I am far more likely to participate. It also helps when you take the time to ensure I understand by answering my questions and educating me as necessary (without making me feel stupid!)
Recommend actions once you understand the situation. Sometimes “care” is best shown by just listening. Sometimes people only want to be heard and sometimes they want to be helped. Discern the difference. If you are not sure, “Request” permission to put forward an idea, thought or observation.
Engage with people through to the end. Whether you have 1 minute, 1 hour or 1 day ensure you give the person you are talking with your focused attention. Giving someone your time but not your focused attention can often signal that they are not important and that you do not care. When we focus on the person it honours them and shows that we value them.
Care takes focused time. Not necessarily much time. This is especially true when we do it right.
Who needs to know you care today?