Shirley's Articles / Communication Skills and Building Relationships

How Do You Make A Difference?

I’m a big believer in lifelong learning, and I feel something that we must never stop continuously improving is our communication skills. The way we communicate can often mean the difference between success and failure in getting a job done, building or busting a relationship, making or breaking a friendship, or indeed getting that promotion!

“Good morning” makes a difference!

I remember one morning quite early I met my two assistants for a training programme. Just as the lift door was closing on the ground floor, a guy rushed into the lift. He did not acknowledge us, turned around, and pressed a button. I then said, much more cheerfully than I felt, “Good morning!” This guy almost jumped out of his skin, but he half-turned towards me and nodded his head. When the lift approached his floor, he walked out, and after three steps he turned around, smiled, and said, “Have a great day!”

Wow! Bingo! Two things happened here. Even though it was early and I wasn’t feeling particularly cheerful at that moment, I did something that made a positive difference to the guy in the lift. And he also made a positive difference to me and my assistants. And who knows who else he acknowledged or spoke to for the rest of the day to continue making a difference to others.

A smile and a kind word makes a difference!

This incident reminded me of something that had happened several months ago when I was training overseas with a colleague, Marianna Pascal. Marianna and I were waiting for the lift to head down to breakfast. As the lift doors opened to reveal about 8 or 9 people, Marianna walked in, smiling broadly, and said, “Good morning everyone!” Well you can imagine the shocked faces! But what happened next was magical. Marianna and I did not immediately turn our backs to the others. We stayed facing them, and we started chatting. Everyone started smiling and chatting back. Where are you from? How long are you here? What convention are you attending? Which of the sights did you enjoy the most? By the time we all got down to the main floor, we were all laughing and having a great time.

Did we make a positive difference to these people? We certainly did! Did we make a difference to their day? Absolutely! And who knows how many of those people subsequently went on to do something similar to make a positive difference to other people’s days.

How do YOU make a difference?

Whether you think you do or don’t, trust me, you do make a difference! However, sometimes it’s not always positive. And trust me, when you make a negative difference, people will remember you – but for all the wrong reasons!

It’s not hard to make a positive difference. Sometimes all it takes is a smile or a kind word.

So how will you make a positive difference today? I’d love to hear from you!

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* Credit line: © Shirley Taylor. Shirley is an international bestselling author. She has established herself as a leading authority in email and business writing skills. Her international bestseller Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents 7th edition sold over half a million copies worldwide and has been translated into 17 languages. Her book Email Essentials reached #2 in the USA for publishers Marshall Cavendish International. Find out more about Shirley at shirleytaylor.com.
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