Every time we have a conversation with someone, we have an opportunity to make an impact. In fact, it is more than an opportunity, it is a fact. Every time we have a conversation, we make an impact. There is no getting around this. Whichever way we look at it, the person we have the conversation with will go away with an impression, or a feeling, that we alone have created. As Maya Angelou famously said once, and this is a quote I have never forgotten:

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

How true is this for you? Can you remember a time when someone made you feel great, or the opposite? Quite possibly you have never forgotten it.

Sometimes the feedback is instant – we can see the impact we have made through the look in their eyes, or a change in their facial expression or their body language. Sometimes we may never know whether we have made an impact or not, or we may only find out years later.

What we do have complete control of is our choice of whether to make our impact positive or negative. Whether you are having conversations in business, or at home, we want to make sure our impact is a positive one, and take steps to ensure it. So what are those steps?

Step 1 – Belief

This may sound like a strange question to start with but what do you believe about the person you are about to have a conversation with? Start with the belief that the person has limitless potential, and it will completely change the nature of your conversation.

Step 2 – Humility

Approach your conversation with humility and curiosity. Be interested in the unique person you are having the conversation with; listen genuinely what they have to say; and know that there are things that they are an expert in. All you need to do is find out what

Step 3 – Connect

Your conversation will be far more impactful once you make a connection, and you do this by approaching the conversation with warmth and then finding out how the person is like you. You will have something in common, and all you have to do is find it.

Step 4 – Independence

Avoid giving too many opinions when talking to someone, unless they ask for it. Ask questions and let the other person find their own solutions. They will go away feeling inspired and energised by the conversation they had with you

Step 5 – Leadership

Make your questions open ones (starting with what and how), since these are the ones that will make people think. Avoid starting any question which might make someone feel judged e.g. “why”, or “Should you…”

Step 6 – Language

Encourage the person you are conversing with (and yourself!) to state what they want, rather than what they don’t want. You get what you focus on, and positive language feels so much more energising.

If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.

Go and have a different, and more impactful conversation today.