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Stop Playing a Game of Relationships Roulette

Attention is about connection. Attention is critical for cultivating healthy relationships – personally and professionally. Studies have shown us that when people fail to get the attention they need from a relationship, they will begin to seek it elsewhere.

Giving attention to someone is our way of prioritizing the relationship and showing them they are important to us.

When we give our attention to our spouse or partner, our relationship deepens.

When we give attention to our friends and family, our relationships become stronger.

As leaders, when we give attention to our employees, we retain their talent and create a sense of loyalty in the partnership.

My latest book Attention Pays, recently released and I’ve been ah-mazed at the number of people who have reached out to me about their experience reading it. Many of them have admitted they finally recognized the fact they were neglecting their more important relationships. Some even felt compelled to put the book down to give their focus to those they love in that very moment.  That makes me so happy. I am a work in progress, just like you. I need these reminders too.

I believe attention is our new currency. The more undivided attention we give to those that matter most, the more value they see in the relationship.

Here are a few strategies to help you focus your undivided attention on those in your life:

1. Device-free meals. Choose to keep the table a device-free zone. No matter the meal, no matter the company, choose to put it away. If you’re having a team luncheon, challenge others to do the same. Having dinner with friends? Make a deal with them that the first person to engage on their phone will have to pay the bill. Instead, use the time at the table to focus on those in your presence. Honor them and their importance in your life by engaging and gifting them with your undivided attention.

2. Purposefully plan. Be mindful and intentional about when you will spend time with those who matter most. Schedule time in the office to meet with employees to check in on their well-being. Set aside time each day to ask your children about their day. Consider planning a vacation with your friends or family that you can look forward to. Plan a date with your partner, child or friends. By planning ahead, you are letting others know how much you value the relationship.

3. Little things matter. Have you ever been surprised by someone who bought you a coffee on their way to work one morning? Maybe you’ve come home to find a small, unexpected package in the mail from a friend. Little things matter. They are one way to give attention to those who matter in your life. They let others know you care. Consider grabbing your partner’s favorite dessert on the way home as a special surprise. Or, pop an unexpected hand-written note in the mail to a friend or loved one. Reward an employee with a coffee or sweet treat for a hard day’s work.

What ideas do you have? Feel free to share in the comments below. Relationships are critical to our happiness and are important to our personal and professional well-being. Invest yourself in relationships and show those in your life they matter most.

Growth Leadership Operations Personal Development

Four Ways to Provide Exceptional Customer Service

What if your customers said they would be willing to pay you twice what you normally charge? All they want in return is an amazing customer service experience.

Really? That’s it? That’s all they want? We already give great customer service. This will be a piece of cake! (Or, will it?)

If someone is willing to spend more, they will surely expect to get more value, and that value should be in the form of a better customer experience. A recent study by Aspect found that 52% of consumers said that they would pay more for “good” customer service while 66% will pay more for “great” customer service. And, an astounding 75% will pay more for what they consider to be “exceptional.”

The point is that great customer service makes price less relevant. Three out of four people are willing to pay more for “exceptional” customer service. How much more are they willing to pay? And what defines “exceptional” customer service? Maybe customers wouldn’t pay double the normal price, but what if they would? What would you do differently? Here are a few ideas to consider:

Return your customers’ emails

Can you believe that 62% of companies don’t?! That’s according to a recent Super Office study. And, not only would you return them, you would do so quickly. And, by quickly I mean minutes, not hours or days. And, the same goes for your customers’ phone calls.

Contact your customers more often

A salesperson could check in with their customers to see how they are doing or to notify them of a promotion, sale, or special event. A customer service rep could follow-up to make sure everything was working. There are plenty of reasons to stay in touch.

Be as convenient for your customers as possible

You might be open longer hours or drive to a customer rather than make them come to you. There are many ways to make yourself more convenient.

Send a Thank You note

I know that sounds so basic, but you can’t believe how few people send thank you notes. And, given how we are in an age that’s moving away from paper, I’ll accept an email or text message – as long as it’s personalized. Be sure to say something that truly connects with the customer. That said, the “snail mail” note has more impact than an email or text. After all, they are spending twice as much to do business with you!

So, maybe the customer isn’t spending twice as much. Maybe they are paying you the same thing they would pay a competitor. Do any of the four customer service tactics seem so far-fetched that you couldn’t or wouldn’t do them regardless of what the customer paid? I don’t think so.

Do you want to stand out from your competition? Do you want to make price less relevant? Sit down with your team and discuss what “exceptional” customer service looks like to your customer. Then do it!

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, award-winning keynote speaker, and New York Times bestselling business author. For information, contact 314-692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs, go twww.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

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How Do You Know When To Trust The Truth?

“The truth is the opposite of a lie that’s believable. Watch what you believe!” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

“You don’t know what the truth looks like, even though I’ve recited it numerous times to you through my ever-changing story.”

What does the truth feel like, sound like, look like, when you feel it, hear it, see it? How do you determine to what degree the truth has been told? The truth can be fluid. That means, we know what the truth is today, based on what we’ve known to be truthful in the past. Then, as greater insight, discoveries, and other machinations are introduced into our environment, a new truth can emerge.

It’s important to understand how you discern what you perceive to be the truth because others can manipulate you, based on what they know of your ability to distinguish between fact from fiction.

To become more cognizant as to when someone might be engaging in the truth, versus having no relationship with it at all, take note of the following insights.

Demeanor – Yours and Theirs:

Always note the demeanor of someone when they engage with you. In particular, note to what degree they feel at ease, uptight, or normal (whatever that is as it relates to their demeanor); you can observe this by noting how they act/respond in un-stressful environments. The non-stressful environment will become the basis from which to make and compare future assessments. You should also be mindful of how you feel as the result of being with the person that’s speaking to you. Your demeanor will put you into a particular mindset that sets your perception and expectations about that person’s ability to tell the truth.


When it comes to truthfulness versus deception, you know more than you think you do. When was the last time you had a ‘feeling’ about whether someone was telling you the truth? What did you experience? Was it something they said, the way they said it, or maybe the way they looked when they said/did it. When you had that sensation, your intuitiveness had kicked in; something triggered it. If you were aware through which senses you perceived such signals, you can use the same sense(s) to heighten your awareness in the future. Never discount a gut feeling. That’s your subconscious mind beckoning your attention.

Story In Order:

When people lie, they tend to fill their story with detail and they’ll attempt to tell their story in a chronological order. To catch such a perpetrator, take one aspect of his story and slightly change it as you recite it back to him; don’t let on that you’re doing so to see if he corrects you, or agrees to your version of his story. If he doesn’t correct you, do the same with another section of his story to see what he does. If he lets that one go too, feign forgetfulness and ask him to repeat the story. Note to what degree the story changes from the original version. To the degree that it does, you’ll know where the lie lies.

Body Language:

When someone is being truthful, their body language is aligned with their words (i.e. hand and eye movements are synched with words). If you note subtle changes in their demeanor, as they profess to tell you the truth, note the question you posed that caused such a reaction. The question you posed, and their reaction to it, will be a guidepost that indicates the degree that you may be uncovering their lack of truthfulness.

There are many reasons why someone may wish to avoid being 100% truthful with you. If you set the ‘right’ environment, observe the storyteller’s body language, and you’re mindful of this person’s demeanor you’ll create the space in which more of the truth can reside … and everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating! 

After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

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