Terri Anderson, author of One Minute More, tells us how we can connect better with people, enhance relationships and how you can get the work/life balance right.
1. We’re so addicted to Facebook, emails, texting…how do you recommend people ween themselves off technology?
I don’t think people should necessarily ween themselves off technology, it’s a fabulous instant communication tool and incredibly useful, however what we need to ensure is a balance of reconnecting with people in a directly human way. The myriad of technology media today are an enhancement, but having 500 friends on Facebook doesn’t necessarily translate into healthy and fulfilling relationships.
A few suggestions for getting the mix right:
1. Call at least one friend every day just to show interest in their life
2. Smile at everyone we meet and take just one minute more for them
3. When we go out with someone, or a group of friends, put the communication device in a place where it doesn’t disturb you or others, and focus on the people you are with
4. A return to quality time, where you can listen to others and share their stories, and yours, with respect is a great way to start. It is also very rewarding
5. Talk to a few strangers, this need not be scary, try the waiter who serves you, the bank teller or the person sitting beside you on the train
2. What are your tips for encouraging people to get out of their comfort zone and chat to people they don’t know?
My number one tip is to ask questions that cannot be answered with a yes or a no. This encourages the other person to speak and gives you a chance to hear things that you can develop into a conversation. Try complimenting people on something nice they are wearing or doing. Noticing that they are busy, or looking tired, or even something about them that is interesting can also be a great conversation starter.
3. What are the benefits of doing something like this every day?
Firstly, you will have a more positive experience day-to-day and you will feel lighter and happier as you receive energy from others because in the smallest way you are making their day better.
This is not 100% fail proof, about 5% of people are just plain grumpy and you will never get a positive response, but most people are just used to being ignored or treated poorly by others. They respond so well to someone who shows they genuinely respect them and care about them as a human. Making that human connection is a truly rewarding experience.
4. What’s a simple way to feel more connected to others?
By spending just one minute more with every person you meet, whether that is behind the café counter, sitting beside them on the bus, the bank teller, the waiter who serves your morning coffee, the lady next door, the man that is watering his lawn as you walk past…just take one minute and acknowledge each person in a respectful, yet personal way.
If you are in any form of customer facing role at work, take that one minute more and hear the change in your customers voice by phone – allow them to enjoy their customer interaction with you, because you really care about them as a fellow human. See the change in their demeanor and attitude to you if you are face-to-face.
When interacting with colleagues in any job, actually remember that they have a life with different priorities, interests, challenges and rewards – just like you do. Share a minute and see what happens!
Life-long friendships can be formed from just that one minute more!
5. What’s your favourite story from your own experience of reaching out to others?
My favourite experience was when my partner, Rudy, had a distant relationship with his mother and step-father. He would call his mother once a fortnight for a few quick minutes, tell her what he needed to tell her and hang up. Friendly but no real connection. I suggested to him taking one minute more and ask her how her husband was, and then ask what she had done that week.
By doing this, they now have the most wonderful, warm and rewarding relationship and call each other several times a week for long chats. He also has a much better relationship with his step-father by following these few and easy steps.