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People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." This is a quote that has been attributed to many people over the years including President Theodore Roosevelt, John Maxwell, Earl Nightingale, and others. It's a quote or statement that we can all relate to at some level.
When I first heard this quote many years ago there was an addition made to the original quote and it went like this, "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care ... about them." This really personalized the meaning for many people as it focused the intent beyond the caring of a topic, a situation, a company or a generality; it added the element of making it about a specific person or group. It made it about you.
If you have ever had a one-sided conversation you probably have experienced the feeling that the other person really didn't care about you, they cared more about telling you about themselves and what has happened or is happening to them now. No matter what topic you bring up, instead of listening and asking questions, they immediately try and talk about a similar situation in their own life, or they try to center the discussion back on to their own story.
Now sometimes this is OK and even appreciated when we are seeking guidance or advice or perhaps learning from someone who is speaking. And it is even better when that person shows a genuine and sincere interest in us or helping us to advance or move past a problem.
Time compression seems to be everyone's enemy these days. However, time compression should never force us into a position of shortchanging the most important people in our lives. And the person sitting in front of us or on the other end of the telephone should be the most important person to us in that moment. Our disinterested and distracted tone could reveal our multi-tasking while trying to pretend that we care.
"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care ... about them." So the next time you find yourself in a meeting, on a call, in a discussion, with a person or a group of people, try committing to listening, asking questions, being curious enough to show that you really do care, and that you care about them personally. By doing this you will demonstrate a greater sense of genuine sincerity, and that alone will have everyone believing that you are a very smart person who knows so very much.
So how about you? Do you enjoy talking more about yourself and the things that are important to you? Or have you figured out that the best way to show how much you know is to show how much you care? I would love to hear your story at email@example.com, and when we learn to take the focus off of ourselves and place it on other people, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.
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