How to build bridges, not walls

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall” – Robert Frost

Robert Frost sounds a bit like Yoda with this quote, his point is true.  I love walls, have one on the street side of my house, makes me feel secure. 

Walls don’t work so well when it comes to people. You and I both can tell when someone has a wall around them.

Here’s a list of things I’ve found that work well building bridges instead of walls.

-Look, nod, and acknowledge someone’s presence. We don’t mean to screen people out, but we do it because we are preoccupied. 

-Nonthreatening touch. A touch on the elbow, a brief touch to the upper back, a solid handshake. Some folks never have anyone give them a human touch, ever. 

-Give everyone their 18 inch circumference of safety when talking w/them. I’m amazed at how many people get in my face to talk with me. 

-Listen, and nod, comment briefly, mainly listen. In our culture everybody talks, few listen. 

-Compliment a person on something they do well, but think nobody notices. This is dynamite.

-Moderately adopt the posture of  the person you’re talking to, and slowly improve your own posture. I love to do this, the person often improves their posture too.

-Have an “open expression” as you listen. This helps people know you’re really listening.

-Ask great questions that encourage the other to speak more openly.

-When interacting with someone, manage the environment. If it’s an office, come around the desk, sit closer, and sit in a chair that puts your head no higher than the head of the person with whom you’re interacting.  

-Truly help when you can. Folks always remember two groups of people; those who are there when they need them, and those who aren’t.

-Say yes as often as you can to people. Why? With almost everyone, there comes a time to say no, it sure goes a lot better if you’ve said yes all you can. 

Final point;  do that little bit extra. Bill Greehey, former CEO of Valero Energy made this a daily mantra. If you do that little bit extra, it’ll stand out in a positive way. Don’t we all need this in these times?

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