I’d like you to try an experiment. Greet ten people you don’t know as you walk around during your day. My prediction is that most will reply to your greeting. Then try a similar experiment without greeting others and count how many people initiate a greeting to you. I predict that it will be a very low number. I have replicated this experiment 100’s of times in the community where I live as well as all over the country. It doesn’t matter if I am in the Southwest, Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, or center of the country; the results are almost always the same – almost 90% of the people I greet return a greeting of some kind whereas less than 10% of the people I pass will initiate a greeting to me. I have tried this experiment outside of the U.S. and the result are the same.

Why should you be an initiator?

– Initiators get jobs.

– They get promotions.

– They close more deals.

– They make more friends.

– They get more positive recognition.

– They build consensus.

– They are first to market on new product.

– They are team builders.

– They build others up.

Why don’t people initiate? My guess is fear of rejection.

Earlier this week while traveling, I had an initiation opportunity. I was in the Delta Sky Club in the Atlanta airport as a woman walked up to a big table where I was sitting with a few other people. I observed her as she sat down and something inside of me told me to greet her. I sensed that she had had a rough day and could use some kindness. However, instead of initiating a conversation, I did nothing. My thought process took me through a few reasons why I shouldn’t talk to her – would I disturb others at the table “working”? Did she want to be left alone? Would she take my efforts to engage with her as something more than what I intended?

It was at the end of a very long day and as extroverted as I am, I decided in that moment to just be quiet. I causally watched her for a few minutes and again felt compelled to say something to her, but I didn’t.

It’s not like me to not trust my gut in situations like that. Had I to do it over again, I would have definitely spoken kindly to her.

I’d love to hear how you have benefited from being an initiator, and how you quieted the voice that may have told you to not initiate.

#Pausitivity #LeadershipDevelopment #initiateconversations #speaktopeople

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