6 Tips for Becoming More Attentive to Others

Tweet 61 in my latest career advice book Success Tweets says, “Create and nurture you unique personal brand.  Stand and be known for something.  Make sure that everything you do is on brand.”  A strong personal brand will get you noticed in a positive way and enhance your career success journey.

The other day I saw a WikiHow that listed 12 pieces of career advice on how to stand out from the crowd.  While creating and nurturing your unique personal brand is my best career advice for standing out from the crowd, I thought that the WikiHow made some interesting points.  Check them out…

1. Decide what standing out from the crowd means for you.
2. Think for yourself.
3. Don’t be swayed by the crowd.
4. Take chances or risks and work hard.
5. Do things differently.
6. Have good manners.
7. Do what you say you’ll do.
8. Show initiative.
9. Dress stylishly and wear what suits you.
10. Check your posture.
11. Be attentive.
12. Remind people how great they are.

Success Tweets has a tweet or two that addresses each of these 12 pieces of career advice.  In this post I’d like to focus on the career success advice in point 11 – be attentive.  Being attentive to others is a great brand aspect and good career advice

Tweet 106 in Success Tweets says, “Demonstrate your understanding of others’ point of view.  Listen well and ask questions if you don’t understand.”  That’s as good a definition of being attentive as I know. 

I have developed six pieces of common sense career advice on how to be attentive to others…

First, acknowledge other people as equals.  You cannot have a good conversation if you don’t recognize one another as equals.  Regardless of your hierarchical relation to the other person – if he or she is your boss, peer or subordinate – remember that we are all human beings.  As such, we are entitled to respect and dignity. Talk with people, not to them and you’ll be surprised at the quality of your discussions.

Second, be curious about other people.  People are fascinating.  I have had some of the most interesting conversations with limo and cab drivers.  Often they are immigrants.  It’s interesting to hear their take on life in the USA.  Be curious about the people you know too.  People are always growing and changing.  When you express your curiosity you’ll be bound to find out new and interesting things about old friends and acquaintances.

Third, help others listen to what you have to say.  Think before you speak.  Speak clearly.  Ask them questions; answer the questions they ask you.  Remember, communication in general and conversation in particular, is a process fraught with potential misconnects.  So listen hard to others and make it easy for them to listen to you.

Fourth, slow down.  Think and reflect.  When you slow down, you;ll find that you have time to think. Don’t be afraid to pause and reflect on a question.  This shows the other person that you are carefully considering your response – not just saying the first thing that comes to mind.  Other people will appreciate you for your thoughtfulness, not knock you for not being quick or clever enough.

Fifth, remember that conversation is the natural way for humans to think together.  The idea of thinking together is great career advice.  George Bernard Shaw, my favorite playwright once said, “If I have an apple and you have an apple and we exchange apples we still each have one apple.  If I have an idea and you have an idea and we excahnge them, we both have two ideas.”  That’s thinking together.   The world would be a better place if we all thought together instead of thinking separately and trying to convince others that our thoughts are better than theirs.  I would love to see political debates where the candidates worked together to develop an approach to handling a problem or issue – instead of watching them advance their ideas while taking swipes at the other person’s ideas.

Sixth, conversation and attending to others can be messy.  That’s OK.  In fact, I think it’s great.  Some of the best ideas come out of messy conversations.  The willingness to get into the mess and slop around is what frees your creativity.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people are attentive to others.  They follow the career advice in Tweet 106 in Success Tweets.  “Demonstrate your understanding of others’ points of view.  Listen well and ask questions if you don’t understand.”  Listening and being attentive to others takes some work, but it is worth it in the long run.  It will help you become a dynamic communicator and build solid relationships that will fuel your life and career success.  Remember my six pieces of career advice for being attentive to others:  1) Acknowledge other people as equals.  2) Stay curious about other people.  3) Recognize that you need other people’s help to become a better listener.  4) Slow down to have the time to think and reflect.  5) Remember that conversation is the natural way for humans to think together.  6) Expect it to be messy at times.

That’s my career advice on building your brand by being attentive to the needs of others.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my musings on life and career success.


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  1. I liked you subject as well as matter. Conversation with attaintion is one of the key word of Career Success, but should be conversation, not gossiping.

  2. I agree. Conversation is good — gossip is not so good.
    Thanks for your comment.

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