Author: Whitney Hollingshead
In the movie You’ve Got Mail, the lead character says, “Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal.” These wise words are often forgotten in an increasingly impersonal world; however, life will always be more meaningful when we begin everything by being personal.
So where do we start when we are ready to take life more personally? Here are four powerful tried and true ways to get personal that many of us have forgotten:
1. Use Names
Whether consciously or subconsciously, the favorite word of every person is their own name. I love seeing my name printed on anything and I love hearing my name spoken out loud. So do you and so does everyone else. Have you purchased any of the Coca Cola cans or bottles with names printed on them from the Share a Coke marketing campaign? As mentioned here, this campaign has been wildly successful because it’s so personal.
If you want to get personal, start by treating each person as an individual person instead of treating them like a number.
Here are some key ways that you can use names on a daily basis:
If you know a name, use it in normal conversations.
If you don’t know a name, politely ask for it.
If you learn a name, figure out a way to always remember it. Make remembering names a personal priority.
Use names in all greetings. Whether in person, over the phone, via email, or text message, use the individual’s name.
If someone in the workforce is wearing a name-tag, say thank you for any service provided and include their name in your expression.
You will be amazed at the responses you can receive, simply by taking the time to learn, remember, and use names in all of your everyday interactions.
2. Remember Preferences
You can keep things personal by remembering the preferences of those you interact with daily. When an opportunity presents itself, use your knowledge of another’s preferences to make their day a little brighter. Knowing preferences is like knowing a fun secret. The more fun secrets you know, the more you can use them to orchestrate fun surprises. And everyone loves a fun surprise!
Here are some examples:
Secret: Your co-worker loves dark chocolate.
Surprise: Leave a dark chocolate candy bar on her desk.
Secret: The doorman always wears patterned socks.
Surprise: Present him with a pair of socks as a gift as you pass through.
Secret: Your grandmother always listens to opera.
Surprise: Take her to the nearest showing of an opera performance.
Secret: Your son hates the crust on his PB&J.
Surprise: Cut off the crust before packing his lunch.
Secret: The next door neighbor orders pizza every Thursday night.
Surprise: Intercept the delivery boy and pay for your neighbor’s pizza.
How many secrets do you already know that you can turn into surprises? How many more secrets can you learn today to plan a surprise for tomorrow?
3. Remember Events
Just as remembering preferences will help you make stronger personal connections, remembering events is also important. Depending on how well you know someone, a card or gift is not required in honor of important events. However, simply expressing well wishes on the day of an event is a great way to be personal without getting too personal.
Here are just a few of the many important events you can remember:
first day at a new job
performance of any kind
due date of new baby
When it comes to well wishes, remember to keep them personal. For example, when Facebook reminds you that it is someone’s birthday, send the individual a personal message that includes their name via text message instead of posting on their wall. If you struggle with finding the right personal message for other occasions, a simple “good luck today” or “thinking of you today” can still be very thoughtful, especially when you include their name.
4. Write Notes
In a technology centered world, most of us rely on electronics to communicate. While we can make things personal by using technology, one great alternative is to step away from technology and put a little extra effort into our communication. Using your own handwriting offers a truly one of a kind message that will always communicate a personal touch.
Here are some everyday situations that are quite conducive to using handwritten notes:
Send a handwritten letter or card to a family member or friend.
Mail handwritten postcards when away from home.
Leave handwritten love notes or sticky notes for family members to find.
Write a short handwritten message on any signed receipt.
Send a handwritten thank you note to anyone to express gratitude.
Write a letter of appreciation to any manager/owner specifically mentioning an employee who provided exemplary service to you.
Send anonymous “thinking of you” notes to people who may need a little more joy in life.
The possibilities are nearly endless for using your own handwriting to make your interactions more personal. Always keep some blank cards or paper and a pen handy and watch for opportunities to leave personal notes.
As you use names, remember preferences, remember events, and write notes, you can take life personally, one person at a time.
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