I had the joy of spending a day with my 9-year old nephew, Isaiah, this week. My brother, Frank, who is a talented public speaker and wealth manager, was on a swing through Florida to see a few of his clients. This was Isaiah’s week to go on a business trip with his Daddy. I love that.
Isaiah and Frank have great lessons to teach us. Please read on.
Isaiah was a magnet at every event they attended. From receptions to meetings, everyone fell in love with him, but not just because he’s so cute. You see, he has outstanding interpersonal skills that take adults by surprise.
Last week, they attended a reception for two hours with the heads of a major Indiana university. The situation that took place next is worth sharing.
A man at the reception walked up to Isaiah, who was the only child in the room, and reached out his hand and said,
“What’s your name?”
Isaiah shook his hand, looked him in the eyes, and said,
The kind gentleman said,
”It’s nice to meet you,”
to which Isaiah smiled and replied the same. Isaiah’s new friend said,
“I sure wish more young people would do what you just did.”
He then described the importance of eye contact, a firm and polite handshake, and the ability to directly engage with someone. Frank said they all agreed, sadly, that this has become very rare.
What my brother told me next is VERY important to all of us as adults.
“It was certainly a proud moment for me as a Dad. In case anyone wants to know our secret…we practice. We practice meeting new people, shaking hands, smiling, saying ‘Nice to meet you,’ etc. When the kids do it well, we reinforce it. When they don’t, we remind them.”
“A few years ago while taking Nora (his daughter, my adorable niece) to a conference, I made a deal with her. She got a nickel every time she met someone, and could then tell me the color of their eyes after the introduction.”
The skills mentioned above might sound simple, and you might even think that adults already know all of this, but I assure you, not all are comfortable engaging people like Isaiah.
Not only is this connection critical in developing a positive first impression, but it is also important in nurturing and solidifying our relationships with our clients and potential clients. These are all non-verbal methods of communication we send every time we interact with another human being.
I call that marketing, and I call it very important.
Thanks for the lesson Isaiah. Nice job Frank. I’m proud of both of you.