3 Things you have that others want

The following blog post was originally posted to LinkedIn on 20 June 2014.

We all have things that we want from people and of course there are things they want from us. Recently I was thinking about what this actually meant and I think I managed to boil it down to just three things - things that I think we all look for from each other.

These three things are elements that build on one another. To get the second you must initially get the first and to get the third you must obtain the second. So what is it that people look for first?

The first element is simply time. The tricky thing is that time is something that people typically feel is most precious in their life. It’s easy to understand why. We have a finite amount and as we journey through our lives we find that it becomes a more significant amount of resource. Not only because more demands are placed on us, but also because each day becomes an increasingly larger percentage of what remains.

Without a mutual sharing of time people can’t communicate and so nothing can move forward between them.

Once people have agreed to give each other some time the next element to get is attention. This could be attention to a conversation or a task. If someone isn’t giving their attention then progress is going to be limited or entirely curtailed. Complete attention is ideal, but these days we are faced with dealing with an almost permanently connected society so it can be a real challenge.

At this point I’m actually going to mention something I discarded. Trust. When I began thinking about what people want I was convinced trust was going to be in there. But I actually came to the (somewhat sad) conclusion that it isn’t.

Whilst trust can be a great enabler for people, we don’t always need people to trust us or to trust others to achieve what is required. Sometimes a common goal that we can work towards on our own is enough.

So what is the final element? Well it’s passion. To get behind an idea or to really commit to an activity you need to be passionate about it. People will give more (time, effort, money, etc.) when they really believe and are excited about it.

So that’s the three progressive elements of what we want from each other. So how can we use this to our advantage? Well just knowing these points I think helps immensely, but here’s what came to mind for me.

Time: Yours

  • If it is something you are unsure of set a time limit after which you need to decide if you will commit more time.
  • Triage your time demands so that you can focus in on the ones that have the potential to yield the best benefit for your goals.

Time: Theirs

  • Think about the demands on the time of others and frame your requests accordingly. Your time is precious. Their time is too.
  • Start with a request for a small amount of time and build from there. Make sure it is just enough in which to get their attention and peak their enthusiasm.

Attention: Yours

  • If you are going to do something, try and give it your full attention. If you don’t, you might well misunderstand or miss something entirely. When you don’t give your attention it will mean that you could miss out on the benefits or waste more of your precious time going back over things later.
  • If you are convinced that something is not worth your attention then go and do something else that is. Just be sure you’re certain before you do or there could be repercussions.

Attention: Theirs

  • Engage others in a way that will captivate them and make it easier to hold their attention. It has the potential to save time for both you and them.

Passion: Yours

  • Seek out things that truly inspire and excite you to fuel your passion. You’ll do your best work and feel better about doing it if you do.
  • If you have something you must do and don’t feel passionate about it, find something interesting to help you do it in a new or better way. For example if you don’t enjoy filling in your TPS reports you might try creating a better template for them first, or preparing sets of boilerplate text you can use to fill them out quicker, or even just filling them in whilst listening to your favourite music.

Passion: Theirs

  • If you want others to be passionate you can help by being passionate about it yourself. Passion can be a little addictive if you use it the right way.
  • Find out what others are passionate about early on and find links to what you want them to do. It will make it easier to convince them to do it and they’ll enjoy it a lot more as well.

That’s the three things I think you have that others want. With this in mind I hope you’ll be able to find better ways of keeping your personal resources in your control and finding ways to better engage with others to “find mutually beneficial outcomes”.

Oh and did you figure out why I chose the picture yet?

Author: Stephen Millard
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