Say Hello…With Conviction

Okay, a quick question as we start the new year: How are your hellos and goodbyes?

Something to focus on in 2011 is how you greet people and how you say goodbye. It says a lot about you or a leader’s genuine warmth and the heart of your business.

We have our share of visitors to JS every week — clients, prospective clients, community leaders, family and friends.

The first hello has extra weight bearing. Using the person’s name in the greeting and giving a warm smile goes a long way. It’s about having a common touch and putting the person at ease. Making them feel like your office is their home, too. Take your time with the hello and do it right. A key is just slowing down the speed of the conversation to build rapport and strengthen the relationship with the initial greeting.

The same goes with goodbyes. After a meeting you have led, give a warm thank you to every person as they leave. People remember the last thing that happened in a meeting – make that last impression heartfelt and meaningful.

On the flip side, when you begin a meeting as the leader, think it through and set the right tone. Give a sincere hello to each person before focusing on the agenda. Have the written agenda crystal clear, but know as the leader how you kick off the meeting will determine much of the agenda’s success.

The best leaders are masters at hellos and goodbyes. Henry Cloud, one of my favorite leadership authors, says that “great leaders grow not just results but people, too. If your leadership is sound, not only are you hitting the numbers, but you are also lifting the team to experience more health, more growth, more success, and an upswing in fulfillment as a result of being on this journey with you.”

As we all begin the 2011 journey, let’s make our hellos and goodbyes really count. That’s what great leaders do.