Every so often I am fortunate enough to travel for HR. I’ve been an active volunteer for SHRM for over 15 years now and it’s always cool to me to get to go to a place away from home and see my peers. I never take it for granted and I’ve been able to venture out to places I may have never gone to on my own.
Travel is a unique thing. When I first began to travel, I think I was like many of the folks I encounter now. I was anxious and uncertain of where to go and what to do. People are constantly milling around you and they look as anxious as you feel. Many people are rushing without care or concern of any other human within 25 feet of them because they need to get to their airplane gate, taxi or desk at the hotel.
I decided that if I traveled like this, I would be miserable, frustrated and impatient with others. That runs completely counter to who I am and how I see others. So, I slowed down and looked up. I no longer buried my head down to join the mad rush to the next destination. Instead, I really took a different approach . . .
If you don’t know, I’m a very intentional person. I sincerely want to meet and know every person that I cross paths with. I’m intrigued as to who they are and what they do. I know there’s a chance that I will meet someone that may not be “safe” or could take advantage of me, but my experience says that this is rare. This brings me back to my new approach – I make eye contact with people.
I don’t gawk or stare. I don’t fix on someone to be overt or creepy, but I look at people and if we connect, I really take a giant leap !! I say, “Hello !!” That’s it. Nothing more.
If someone wants to chat, I chat. If someone gives me the head nod, I reciprocate. I do this with the driver from long-term parking, to the ticketing agent, to the TSA ID checker, to everyone I meet. When I do this I get one of two responses. The one that is unfortunately the majority is that people avoid making eye contact because they don’t want to interact. I get that, but it’s disappointing. When people do make contact and chat, it’s fantastic !! Why ?? Because I truly feel that people today want someone to notice them.
We are all constantly surrounded by people and yet we act as if we’re completely alone. We surround ourselves with social media, but we really only look to see if people notice us. It’s time we change our approach – especially in HR.
Each and every day we’re surrounded by employees, clients, vendors and new people. Are you taking the time to pause, make eye contact and greet them? Do you stay long enough to see how someone is really doing or are you in your own mad dash because your e-mail is more important than the person you just passed ??
It’s time we looked up from whatever we think is more important and notice the people around us. You never know if the “Hello !!” you give will be just the thing that someone else needs more than anything. Trust me when I say that people aren’t doing this. People deserve to be recognized and noticed.
This next week start making eye contact. It will change your view of others, your work and the world around you. I’ll be watching and when I see you, I’ll be making eye contact – guaranteed !!