GUEST POST from Shep Hyken
The heliotropic effect is the tendency for any living thing to be drawn toward energy. For example, if you put a plant on a windowsill, it will eventually lean toward the window where the sun comes in, soaking up those rays as the nourishment it needs to sustain its life.
Dr. Harry Cohen took this scientific concept and applied it to humans. In his book Be the Sun, Not the Salt, he defines the human version of the heliotropic effect as “being kind, authentic, compassionate, grateful and positive. … When you are being heliotropic, you are a positive energizer that uplifts others.”
In this short book that most people could read in less than an hour, Dr. Cohen shares 30 simple yet powerful principles and tactics that will create the energy that draws people to you. For leaders, you will build a stronger following. For managers, you will create a better work environment. And if you deal with customers, which is the focus of my work, you will get them to like you, trust you and want to do more business with you. And the best part about these thirty (30) ideas is that they don’t cost money, and you can put them into practice immediately.
Here are a few of my favorites that will make you think and, if you practice them, will have a heliotropic effect of attracting others toward you.
- Do All the Good You Can — Let’s start with the first one in the book. Just do good. People will be drawn to you, you’ll be more effective in what you do, and you’ll feel good yourself. It’s a fulfilling idea. When you do good, you feel good.
- Be Helpful — This seems so simple and obvious, but consider this. In our annual customer experience research, we asked more than 1,000 U.S. consumers, “What customer service experiences are most likely to cause you to come back?” The No. 1 answer was helpful. Such a simple concept!
- Show You Care — Insincerity is easy to spot, and nobody likes to do business or be around insincere people. You can’t fake caring—so don’t try. Be authentic about it. Maya Angelou said, “If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” I also like the Theodore Roosevelt quote Dr. Cohen included in this chapter, “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.”
- Apologize Well — When you find yourself faced with a confrontation, mistake or problem, the first words that come out of your mouth should be an acknowledgment and apology. Saying something as simple as “I’m sorry” can start to turn a negative situation around. A clear, sincere apology at the beginning of a conversation does two things. First, it positively kicks off the process of fixing a problem. Second, it helps restore the customer’s confidence.
- Hold the Salt — The opposite of the heliotropic sun, as the book title implies, is salt. To “hold the salt” is about not always saying everything on your mind. It’s sometimes better to bite your tongue and say nothing rather than try to get the last word or emphasize a point that doesn’t really need to be emphasized.
- Don’t Be a Complexifier — I’ve always believed that part of my success is simplifying the complicated. I recently wrote an article about how to make your business simple. Simplicity usually makes things better. Complex processes make it hard for customers and employees. Be easy, convenient and simple to do business with!
- Speak Fluent Gratitude — This is the perfect one to end on. Expressing appreciation to others is powerful. Dr. Cohen shared research that shows “cultivating gratitude makes you and the people around you feel better.” I love people who have an attitude of gratitude. And this is also an opportunity to express my gratitude to you for taking the time to read and share this article! Thank you!
Image Credits: Shep Hyken
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