Here’s an idea you can instantly put into practice. Before you greet someone, slow-down, resist the urge to fill-in the silence with the sound of your voice, focus on the other person and smile before you speak. The first few seconds of an interaction with another person usually sets the tone of the interaction. Also, people tend to reciprocate in-kind to however you act towards them, especially initially in an interaction. So, when you first greet someone with a sincere smile, what will happen? The other person will respond inkind. They will return your smile or at least behave in a more pleasant manner than they would have otherwise. You have now set the tone for the interaction.

How does this affect the other person’s impression of you? How does this affect the interaction?

I often wondered why some people were so likeable and could create rapport so quickly with others. After watching these people carefully for some time, I discovered that they had an innate behavior, among other talents, for smiling before they spoke to you. The key is timing. The smile must be delivered before you speak. This sets a warm, pleasant tone, even on the telephone. If you do not set the tone, the other person will.

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