When you meet a new person, discipline yourself to ask two questions. Here is the background that led me to this conclusion and the specific questions.
KFWB was the radio station I listened to most often when I was growing up in Hollywood, California. Al Jarvis was the disk jockey, and he would very often say, “It’s the little things in life that mean the most to all of us.”
I have so often wondered at the truth of this wisdom. Our feelings are affected by so many small experiences that we have a tendency to think about most often. A small gesture on our part can make a lasting effect. For example, when one person welcomes the “newbie” as a new member to a group, it’s amazing how long that memory and good feelings last in the welcomed person.
Creating a small gesture can have a major impact. So rather than leaving a small gesture to chance, think about what you can do to create a lasting, positive memory.
Here are two simple questions that can leave you with more information and leave the other person with good feelings:
(1) Ask the person what he/she wants to be called. As Dale Carnegie stated in his classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” a person’s name is to that person the most beautiful sound in any language.” Of course, this refers to the name that a person WANTS to be called, which may not be the same as the person’s given name.
(2) Ask the person where he or she is from. This question will immediately prompt the person to share, start a conversation, and enhance your understanding of the stranger. A bonding will accrue instantaneously.