In an earlier posting I spoke briefly about my mentor, Thomas D. Willhite. Tom was one of the most insightful people I have ever met and much of his wisdom came as a result of being a professional salesman. All his life he was a salesman. In the beginning he sold life insurance, then automotive additives and beauty products. At the height of his career he sold the “promise of world peace, one mind at a time”. Tom knew human behavior, how people think, how people feel, what people dream about. And he used that knowledge, first to make money, and later in life to teach people the tools of right living and personal success.
Tom was also a voracious reader but when he read he didn’t just follow the words or the story, he was always looking for the meaning. What profound principle of human behavior or what success secret was the author really trying to convey?
And one of his favorite principles was: Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care!
Want to really have a meaningful conversation with someone? Want to build and strengthen your relationships? Want to enjoy social events more? Want to be more effective at work? The answer lies in that simple little phrase: Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.
Let me share with you an example. The other evening while on a business trip I was alone at a sushi bar (my favorite food) and sitting a few seats down were three businessmen, out for an evening meal. I have a bad habit of ease dropping but since they each had a beer or two the conversation was not hard to overhear. Anyway, here’s how it went.
At first they were behaving like schoolboys, laughing about people they knew in common and commenting on the boring meeting they had just come from. Very surface stuff without real meaning for any of them. A few bites of tuna sushi later and they started talking about their business. I gathered they were engineers at some auto company. But again the conversation was very surface level and each in his own turn would mentally disengage and start glancing around at the other people in the restaurant.
Then one of them said something that riveted the attention of the other two. He spoke about one of their mutual colleagues whose young daughter was in a coma and how he was trying to be with her at the hospital and also carry on at work. The guy was barely holding it together at work.
All of a sudden, the tone of their conversation shifted from surface to genuine as they started to come up with ideas of how they could better support their unfortunate colleague. The conversation speed shifted from surface and disinterested to heartfelt and riveting. They were emotionally engaged!
Show people you care and the quality of the conversation can be rich and rewarding. I left about the same time they did and all through the rest of the evening they were deeply engaged in meaningful dialogue with one another.
Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.
Tight Lines . . .
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