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Use This Communication Skill to Build Better Relationships

Use This Communication Skill to Build Better RelationshipsThe happiest and most successful people tend to be extremely caring, says author Brendon Burchard. The following strategy makes others feel special–and helps you connect with them on a deeper level. From The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive.

There is an old saying: There are two kinds of people in the world—those who walk into a room and say, “Here I am!” and those who walk into a room and say, “Oh, there you are!”

Be the second kind of person. Turn your lens to others. Ask them more questions about themselves. Be so curious about other people that they become curious about you. (That happens almost automatically, thanks to the mirror neurons in their brains.)

All of us want someone to care who we are and what we think and feel. That’s why we all should see everyone in the world as having a sign hung around his neck that reads, please listen to me and value me. When you ask questions about someone else’s reality, it’s as if you’ve read his sign, and then, in turn, he wants to know and care more about you.

When asking questions about other people’s lives, there’s one question that seems to demonstrate your caring more so than others. This one approach by itself changed my life, and I am forever thankful for it. I learned the idea in an interpersonal communication class. I remember many of my fellow students liking the idea, and many of them even put it into practice for a few weeks. What’s often made the difference in the quality of my life, though, is my persistence, and putting this question to the people I’ve met over the past fifteen years has been beyond powerful.

The strategy is simple. From now on, whenever someone shares something with you, be conscious of asking this question: “Wow, how did you feel when that happened?” Adding the word “wow” takes the you-trying-to-be-a-therapist edge off the question. (Under no circumstances should you say, “Hmmm, I see. . . Tell me how you feel about that.”) Asking others this question is a gift, because it makes them pause and it shows you care about their emotions. It’s also a gift to you, because it will make your interactions with others much, much deeper and more meaningful.

The happiest and most high-performing people I’ve met are extremely caring people. They put caring for themselves and others at the very top of their priorities in life. They demonstrate caring for others in very attentive and physical ways, and they have the guts to ask for care when they themselves need it. To them, caring is a continual life practice, not a touchy-feely concept, and because they approach this area of their lives with such a mastery mind-set, the result is a life filled with vibrant emotion. If you want to feel alive again, care again.

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