3 Words to Make Others Feel More Important

By March 11, 2020Leadership

Human nature clue: Everyone wants to feel important.

This need to feel valued and appreciated is built into our system. It’s why kids on the playground don’t want to be the last one picked to play a game of pick-up basketball. Or – even worse – not picked at all.

Ultimately, it’s not about the missed opportunity to showcase our basketball skills. It’s about not being wanted. It’s about feeling overlooked and unimportant.

As we grow older, we might even develop unhealthy ways of compensating for our perceived lack of importance.

  • Bullying
  • Bragging
  • Giving inappropriate intimacy
  • New cars
  • New wife or husband
  • Bigger house
  • Another new wife or husband
  • Workaholism
  • Chemical addiction
  • Sexual addiction
  • Another new car
  • Sarcasm
  • Belittling others

Sadly, many people are shiny on the outside and hollow inside.

As a leader, spouse, parent, or friend … how do we recognize a person’s God-given need to feel important and nurture it in a healthy way?

If we’re not doing this, then we’re either enabling bad behavior or missing out on the full talent and abilities of those around us.

Let me focus on just one simple way we can do this, and it works just as well with total strangers as it does with close confidants. It only requires memorizing three simple words.

“Tell me more.”

  • “That’s an interesting idea. Tell me more.”
  • “Thank you for sharing this with me. Tell me more.”
  • “I see your reading what seems to be a really good book. Tell me more.”
  • “You went to the University of _____? Tell me more.”
  • “Your offer is lower than I expected. Tell me more.”
  • “I understand she hurt your feelings. Tell me more.”
  • “You seem to enjoy working here. Tell me more.”
  • “I can see your disappointed. Tell me more.”

Whenever you say “tell me more” you’re actually saying, “I value your opinion, thoughts, and feelings, and I want to know more about you as a person.” In other words, “You are important to me.”

To do this effectively requires restraining our tendency to do all the talking. It also requires really listening to what the other person is saying.

Here’s what is amazing: most people when offered the chance to tell you more, will tell you more! And they will walk away from the conversation feeling better about themselves … and you, too.

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