How to Make the Most of Every Face to Face Interaction

July 13th 2011

I’m happy to introduce another guest author, Tim Rye who operates Extra Space Storage, and has much to tell about face to face communication skills.  Read more about Tim or contact him from his info at the end of the article.

One of my friends just came into the room. Oh, there’s another one. No, I’m not at a party (who has time for social events like that?) — I just happen to have my social networking software up and it’s telling me whenever a friend logs onto Facebook, sends me a tweet, or starts to compose an IM. The truth is, I can go for days interacting with friends and colleagues only via computer.

It’s great to be able to stay in touch this way, but as a result, I find that those occasional face to face encounters have become all the more precious. Ironically, I spend more time interacting with littlegreenbutton than I do with my friends, family, or even my coworkers! But I believe in learning whatever you can from the experiences life gives you — and I’ve learned a lot about how to make the most from a face to face interaction by talking with my customers. Here are a few tips:

Make time for face time

Don’t turn down a chance to network with your colleagues because it will tear you away from your computer. I’m not an introvert — you can’t be in my line of work — but I know a lot of people who are. And for those individuals, the temptation to become a computer hermit is strong. If the opportunity for face time does not arise naturally, look for a professional conference to go to or even a lecture to attend. Or take the time to drop off a document in person (if it needs to go to someone in your town), just so you have a chance to say hello in person. Staying in touch through Facebook is good — but actual face to face time can really cement your connection. Make time for it.

Increase your vibration before you meet.

Increase your vibration? This is a New Age term I’ve been hearing from some of my customers — but to me it means, find a way to get your energy up before you meet with someone. If you are feeling down and depressed, you’ll be looking down a lot and your voice will seem flat. You won’t be able to seem interested in another person. So raise your energy in whatever way works for you — sing in the car on the way to your meeting, exercise that morning, drink a glass of orange juice or coffee — do whatever it takes to help you to feel cheerful and pleasant to be around. Most people can’t fake a good mood very effectively — so jolly yourself into a good mood, if you have to, before your face to face interaction. Extroverts seem to cheer up just by being around people, but if you are an introvert, you will have to take time to do this in advance.

Make eye contact.

In a meeting with colleagues or customers, don’t spend all your time looking down at your papers and taking notes. Not that having papers and notes is a bad thing — it can be a way to increase your credibility. But, I have to tell you, having facts and figures on the tip of your tongue, information that you can pull right out of your head, increases your credibility even more. Looking at people is hard if you are an introvert, but it shows people that you genuinely care and are interested in them. If you are too shy to look in someone’s eye, use an old self-defense trick: look at a point just over one of their shoulders. Believe it or not, it will still appear as though you are looking them in the eye.

Ask questions.

As they say on Sesame Street, asking questions is a good way to find out things you want to know! It’s true when you are a student, but it is equally true when you are a business owner or manager. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most people are flattered when others take an interest in them.

Respect nonverbal cues.

Some nonverbal cues say “don’t talk to me right now.” Sometimes people don’t want to talk — yet. But pay attention, because “I don’t feel like talking” can turn into “I have a question” in the blink of an eye. You can tell when that change occurs by watching for nonverbal cues. Notice when a customer goes from a “head’s down” position, reading brochures and looking over merchandise, to a “head’s up” position, looking around and actively seeking to make eye contact with someone.

Have some down time later.

Again, this tip may not apply to you if you are an extrovert — but if you are a natural extrovert, you may not need to read this post at all! If you don’t get energized by being around people — if face to face interaction is a chore for you — then give yourself some time off between face to face interactions, if you can. Give yourself down time to recharge your batteries so that you can bring your energy back up for your next interaction. It’s worth taking the time to make sure that you are able to make the most out of each of your face to face experiences. But if one doesn’t go as well as you’d like, don’t worry about that either. I like to change the old saying, “Life is not a rehearsal,” and turn it on its head. The fact is, life IS a rehearsal. What comes before is practice for what comes next. So if a face to face doesn’t go so well, remind yourself that it was practice — and learn from it for next time.

Remember: most people say they are happiest when they have regular face to face interactions with other people. Don’t be shy about your face time with people — even if they are “merely” casual acquaintances — revel in it!

Tim Eyre helps residential and business customers who use self storage when they don’t have enough storage space on their own property. Tim’s company – Extra Space Storage – has locations from coast to coast, including Boston self storage storage and multiple Philadelphia self storage locations.

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 9 Comments »

Humble Leadership

May 24th 2011

I’ve written quite a number of articles about leadership (such as 100 Ways to Be a Better Leader) and a handful about humility (such as 50 Ways to Be More humble.  Humility is something that people learn by different methods and while I may have learned humility through my own Christian foundation, this at times also causes people to react to my articles and content I include.  I assure you, there are many ways to learn about leadership and humility and I only offer my perspective here, whether you align with it or even agree with it is up to you and your lifestyle but has little to do with humble leadership itself so please examine the subject of the article here, not the context from which it may be learned.  That to me is the whole point of blogging, to share ones learning’s, one’s thoughts and to let others take from it what they want if they think it is valuable and to discuss similar and opposing opinions when topics arise you are passionate about.  Humility is a topic that is hard to write about and often controversial.  Because of this, I only ask that you consider the words to be words and how you apply it something specific to your life.  There have been and still are many great teachers on humble leadership and there is much to learn from them in additional to the points I’ve included in this article, so let’s get started.

Leadership is often seen as one person steering and directing many and many of the names that come to mind first when thinking of leaders are those in the public sector, politicians, sports leaders, great authors and motivational speakers.  While many of these people are in fact incredible leaders, humble leadership is not often why they are so well known.  Humble leadership requires a leader to lead without a desire for attention, for getting well known or for because famous due to that leadership.  Those things may very well happen, but they are never a desire of a humble leader.

Parenting is Often Humble Leadership

Parents have a tremendous opportunity to lead their children and the desire to be a great parent is for the sake of others, not themselves.  Great parents do not hope to be recognized as great parents (from people outside their family at least) and they don’t typically think about any specific achievements they might gain from being the model parents they strive to be.  This type of parenting is a perfect example of humble leadership.  They show by practice what making good choices in life is all about, how to help others and care for one another and how to support people to learn and make great decisions on their own.  These traits are ones that any good leader should have as well and so parenting can be a great place to find leadership without their own agenda, an important part of humble leadership.

Putting the needs of others before yourself and truly wanting to make others more successful with no concern about the impact of that on you can quickly make a humble leader!

Leading by Example and Not Authority is Humble Leadership

Another area that humble leaders lead is by example.  Leading by example can be done by any type of leader but it tends to be done by humble leaders more.  Humble leaders are most interested in showing what can be done and by doing those themselves first.  They don’t force anyone to follow them and they typically lead by example with nothing more than a hope that others will see, and follow suit.  It is often done for leading with specific behaviors in a workplace.  Holding one’s values close and making decisions that let them uphold those values.  Or working in a particular field or role, despite their ability to change and go elsewhere.  It might even be that a humble leader makes a number of personal sacrifices for the sake a company or people in it, without those people ever knowing.  These types of actions and leadership happens every day, and while it is not always obvious to people and more so, often hidden on purpose by a humble leader, the fact is, that is does happen and is often going on in our very own workplaces each and every day!

Humble Leadership Occurs Between Friends All the Time!

Another not so well known area to find humble leadership is that which goes on between friends all the time.  Friends are constantly doing little things to make each other feel better, enjoy one another’s company and to help them get through tough times.  This caring and compassion are exactly the kind of things that humble leadership is based on.  Friends are constantly spending time together, laughing and enjoying one another’s company.  It builds trust, security and comfort that don’t exist without those close personal interactions.  Humble leadership is the same and takes time to develop that trust and security to gain the influence that is required for any leadership task.  It is done by relationship and gives plenty of time to let it develop and become useful.  Humble leadership is not something that can be forced or created quickly, just like most friendships.

Humble Leadership Drawbacks

The methods of a humble leader are very powerful and can create influence and impact with much more momentum and passion than aggressive leaders or authoritative leaders.  The biggest drawback is that one of time, as humble leadership is not something that can be done quickly.  It takes much more time and dedication to create change and get results from it.  The followers that humble leadership can generate however, are often much more loyal themselves and often new humble leaders are created as a result.

I believe that humble leadership is the most powerful of all leadership styles and while it isn’t necessarily suitable to all areas needing leadership, it is a style that makes relationships, trust and connections between people stay at the forefront. It aligns best with my own core values of service, honesty, spirit and integrity so it is something that I can let happen, instead of forcing it to happen.  What about you, do you have examples of humble leadership in your life, can you enjoy the natural aspects of leadership in a humble way and how do your core values align with your style of leadership?  I’d love to read your comments and thoughts on the subject!

Posted by Mike King under Life | 18 Comments »

100 Ways to Improve Your Relationships

May 10th 2010

Relationships are not easy but they are absolutely worth every ounce of effort you put into them.  They are the most rewarding area of life and the one thing that lasts despite all other things.  With the fun I’ve had in writing several 100 lists and my recently released ebook on “Building Better Relationships“, I knew the next 100 list would have to be about relationships.  My ebook is about relationships in general and doesn’t get into romantic relationships, so neither does this list.  These items can be used to improve any relationship and there easily 100 more things that would be more specific to romantic relationship, which I have not going into.  So here it is: 100 ways to improve your relationships!

  1. Make breakfast for someone in bed
  2. Send someone a hand written thank you note for something they did
  3. Leave a message or note telling someone what you appreciate about them
  4. Make time commitments that are realistic and possible
  5. Ensure you do everything you can to meet your commitments
  6. Don’t take promises lightly, be honest and keep themimprove your relationships
  7. Turn the TV off and have a real conversation
  8. Upgrade your communication style
  9. Talk about what you both want out of a relationships
  10. Find a chore you can do with another person
  11. Offer to do a regular activity together
  12. Buy groceries together
  13. Go Shopping together
  14. Organize a meal out with someone for friends
  15. Go camping together
  16. Take a road trip together
  17. Have a staring contest
  18. Have a picnic together
  19. Schedule 10 minutes everyday to talk (with NO distractions)
  20. Be spontaneous and energetic
  21. Spend time researching great relationships
  22. Learn from relationship masters
  23. Read biographies of great relationship builders
  24. Buy and read books on relationships
  25. Put your relationship time BEFORE work, overtime or choresrelationships
  26. Buy and gift a simple gift that reminds you of that person
  27. Keep in touch with friends at least monthly even when living afar
  28. Actually phone in person your facebook friends
  29. Limit your online friends lists to those you want to be friends with
  30. Don’t make lame excuses for things, be honest
  31. Use encouraging positive words instead of negative or critical responses
  32. Learn some cellphone etiquette and shut your phone off once in a while
  33. NEVER be negative or critical in an email – its too dangerous and easily misinterpreted
  34. Be a “yes” type of person when doing things for others
  35. Learn to say “no” to keep your priorities in check
  36. Teach someone how to do something
  37. Exercise together
  38. Make friendly competitions for achievement
  39. Support each other in your actions / challenges
  40. Take up a new hobby together to build a common interest
  41. Never eat alone
  42. Take and print photographs of activities together
  43. Ask for help when you need it
  44. Opening share your beliefs and values
  45. Stick to your beliefs and express why
  46. Know your moral principles and stick to themT
  47. Share your spiritual personality
  48. In challenging situations, ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”
  49. Learn behavioral models (like DISC) to communicate better
  50. Learn personality models (like Meyers-Briggs) to apply personality tips
  51. Be willing to have those necessary and crucial conversions
  52. Create your own bucket list, share it and do many of them together
  53. Improve your telephone skills
  54. Give a gift that is more than a purchased item
  55. Give genuine compliments on a regular basis
  56. Surprise someone with a kind act towards themrelationships and friends
  57. Have conversations where one of you actively listens and ONLY repeats what you heard in your own words
  58. Share your spiritual beliefs with each other
  59. Pray together
  60. Take up learning a new sport together
  61. Take responsibility for your own happiness in the relationship without burdening or expected the other person to do that for you
  62. Tell one another why and how they make you a better person
  63. Identify and compliment anything you see them improve
  64. Be gracious and quick to give an apology
  65. Forgive one another quickly and completely
  66. Stop complaining and start appreciating
  67. Laugh together
  68. Cry together
  69. Serve others
  70. Conquer a fear (like heights or fear of a certain animal) together
  71. Never participate in gossip
  72. Don’t share private relationship information that deserves to be kept private
  73. Be spontaneous with activities and have fun
  74. Never try to change someone else, change yourself instead
  75. Avoid blaming others
  76. Take time to think about your relationships in order to improve them
  77. Make relationships priority and make time to work on them
  78. Set some goals and work specifically on your relationships
  79. Expose your vulnerabilities
  80. Socialize with friends of friends
  81. Compromise to resolve disputes
  82. Be generous with expenses and money
  83. Live below your means so you can save money and prevent money stress in your relationships
  84. Be humble, not boastful
  85. Take a weekend retreat together
  86. Attend a relationships course
  87. Put your self in other people’s shoes to gain perspective
  88. Keep in touch often
  89. Value what you have in each relationship and be grateful for it in conversations
  90. Highlight and recognize every person’s specialty
  91. Avoid assumptions by voicing questions and paraphrasing
  92. Value your own time and don’t waste other’s time
  93. Use humor and don’t take things too seriously
  94. Building relationships takes time so be patient
  95. Change things up with variety and by getting out of your comfort zone
  96. Have empathy and express it
  97. Study and improve your body language
  98. Listen to music together
  99. Tell the truth (in a kind way) even if it might be hurtful
  100. Put the level of effort in, that you want to get out!

Do you have more to add?  Please add them as a comment for others to enjoy as well.

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 30 Comments »

Affilliate Program for my eBook

April 16th 2010

I’m happy to announce today that I have opened up an affiliate program for my new eBook – Building Better Relationships

Affiliate Program – What is it?

This affiliate program is a way for you to share in the profits from a great eBook as well as a way for you to help me get the word out for this new book.  My affiliate program is managed by ClickBank and it literally only takes a few minutes to sign up and you could immediately be earning 50% of any sales just by having it linked from your website as an article, a review, or an advertisement on your site.

Recommended Affiliate Steps

Step 1: First of all, the best way to encourage your readers to purchase anything is to first purchase it yourself and then provide a review page where you outline that product and recommend it.  Obviously this will work for my eBook as well and I’ve you to start as an affiliate by purchasing it and reviewing it for your readers.  You don’t have to purchase it of course, but that is the most effective way for bloggers to promote another product.  I know you will get the value you expect out of the eBook at its low price and what is even better, is that you can make that back after just 2 affiliate sales.

Step 2: Sign up as an affiliate at Clickbank.  All my instructions for how to do this are in my new affiliate page for the ebook. Signing up literally only takes a few minutes!

Step 3: Create your hoplink that tracks your affiliate sales from your review page and you will earn money for each sale.

Step 4: You can use ads on your site to promote the eBook as well and earn even more by offering this book to all your site visitors.  You can choose what kind of ad to use, from large sidebar boxes to several sizes of banner ads.  They are simple to ad to your side on widgets, in specific posts or by adding them to your theme so they appear on every page.  Many plugins for wordpress also exist for managing in post ads if you prefer to do it that way.  Again, my affiliate page for the ebook has advertising images you cna link to and the code is there for you to easily copy and paste into your site.  You simply will set your username in place of the XXXX codes to properly allow Clickbank to track that the sales are from your account.

Additional ClickBank Benefits and FAQ

  • ClickBank costs absolutely NOTHING as an affiliate and only takes minutes to sign-up
  • They have a low payout option in paypal set at only $10, so you can cash out for EACH sale from this ebook since you will earn $11
  • Additional HopAds can be added to show random (or keyword based products) on your side from a variety of vendors

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 4 Comments »

My eBook Released! Building Better Relationships

April 2nd 2010

Do you have relationships you want to strengthen?

We all strive for relationships to be improved somewhere in our lives and that is what this eBook is for.  It’s a guide to explore how you can begin to build better relationships today and get much more out of them in your life.  Relationships are the single most important things that impact our lives and affect our health, mindset and happiness.  This book explores the different aspects of relationships and how you can quickly and easily put specific actions and behaviors into place to break old negative relationship habits, and to form new healthier, stronger, more meaningful relationships.

View the eBooks page for more info on Building Better Relationships and hopefully, future eBooks as well.

Three Methods to Learn

Learning is obviously the main topic here at learnthis.ca and there are many ways to go about it and each person has their own learning styles.  There are three main styles of learning:

  • Auditory (learn best by listening and hearing)
  • Visually (learn best by seeing and observing visually)
  • Kinesthetic (learn best by feelings, hands on and direct involvement)

Because of these styles, I wanted to make sure they all exist in this eBook as well to ensure it is useful to ANYONE.  And that is why this is so much MORE than an eBook.  It includes:

  1. The eBook itself to read ( it is 38 pages with over 13000 words)
  2. Not everyone learns or enjoys reading.  Some of us are audible learners or have more time available to listen than to read.  That is why there is also a full MP3 audio recording of the audio book read by the author, Mike King!  You will gain access to download the mp3 audio with the PDF upon purchase.
  3. The best way to change habits and to make improvements is to actually take action!  That is why this book includes a 3 page workbook to help you assess your relationships and ensure that you reflect and plan specific actions to make the most of your relationships.

I’ll be updating my eBooks page on the LearnThis.ca site here with reader’s quotes and referrals for the book so I’d be happy to include any links or references from readers if you purchase it.  I’d love to hear your thoughts, would great appreciate any promotion you can help me with and I look forward to the reactions from this Book.  It was a joy to write and even more to learn from and put it into action.  I have a lot of work to do as well, as relationships are certainly not easy, but absolutely worth every second of investment.

Get The eBook, the Workbook AND the MP3 audio version all for one low price!

View my eBook page here for ordering Building Better Relationships and future eBooks.


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Only $22 US

PDF, Workbook and MP3 Audio

Posted by Mike King under Relationships | 13 Comments »

Book Review: 42 Rules of Employee Engagement

February 26th 2010

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Author: Susan Stamm

Overall, I found this to be a very good book and there are many things I really enjoyed about it.  It’s fairly short and easy to read as the 42 rules are separated into 42 chapters and the whole concept of employee engagement is one which is very deer to me and an invaluable tool when it comes to leadership.  The book presents 42 easy to digest rules covering a good variety of topics. There are items that need you to focus on yourself and skills in order to perform well in your team then there are many more showing how you need to put your attention towards your team if you plan to engage them more in their work and for better performance.

I like how Stamm put specific actions you could put into place for each of the rules in order to get started and if you were to tackle each of those, this book would be a sure recipe for great engagement, and ultimately, great management as a result.  I know that management is an area that often gets looked upon poorly as a result of so many bad managers spreading those impressions, but Stamm breaks that with good advice and solid recommendations.  Everything covered is useful for being a better manager but it’s certainly not limited to managers. Many of the rules are things that any employee can do or at least strive to learn for a future role.

As with any book on engagement, I expect to see that it is about people, relationships and working on behaviors in those relationships, as that is what employee engagement is all about.  I am happy to say this book easily meets that expectation and in fact, I was quite happy to see the D.I.S.C. profile used to outline behavioral tools for the 4 quadrants of that model.  The one thing that I did not enjoy as much about this book is that it was hard to read because the rules were so individual.  They book could be read 2 pages at a time which is great for someone well distracted but I found the disconnected rules to be distracting on their own when I sat down to read though a number of pages.  I’d love to hear more on each subject and have the author ties the rules together more, as many are related but not presented that way in this short book.

Overall, it’s an excellent short book and one to be very useful if you don’t know much about employee engagement. I definitely recommend it. So whether you are interested in the book itself, this I recommend even more! The website covering the book’s content and reference site is excellent!  There are brief outlines for each of the 42 rules and there are templates available for excersizes on each of the rules.  This is an incredable resource on the subject so please do check it out and explore more about what this book and website have to offer!

Team Approach – 42 Rules Resources

42 Rules – Templates

Posted by Mike King under Book Reviews | 1 Comment »

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