Be (More) Human

I’m a father. A husband. A son. A sports fan. A reader. A gadget geek. Etc.

And I resolve to remain a human being whenever I do business with anyone.

That might sound odd, but it’s important for all of us to remember that we’re people firstand the Senior Vice President of X second.

How many times have you called a customer service person at a company and got something less than the milk of human kindness? That’s what happens when we stop being human and start being job titles or followers of certain procedures.

Just as we should refrain from using tribal language when we write, we should also strive to make human connections with our clients, colleagues and customers.

I’ll share a small example of a human connection I experienced recently. I use a photo of my son and I for my Slack avatar. Sure, I could use a LinkedIn-style photo of myself in a suit, but I use the photo with my son because it tells clients and colleagues a little bit more about me. And it invites them to comment so we can connect over our shared humanity.

Sure enough, just recently a colleague commented on my avatar and we learned we both had small children. We made a human connection that I’m sure will only strengthen our working relationship.

So do me a favor today: Instead of just asking that colleague when they’re getting you that spreadsheet, ask them about their kids, their pets, something that matters deeply to them. Notice the photos on their desk or cubicle and make a comment. Look for connections, common interests. It might just be the highlight of your day.

This won’t solve the world’s problems, but it might just help you share a much-needed laugh. And who knows? Maybe Shirley from Accounting shares your love of Green Day, and you never would have known it without talking to her…

This post originally appeared on my LinkedIn blog.

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