I agree that the foundation of professional success is relationship building. I want to build on this CNBC/Apple News article and add that respectful collaborative relationship building is even better and easily achieved by tactics such as looking someone directly in the eye and calling a person by name.

Confused? To clarify, respectful collaboration begins with eye contact and using your listener’s name. Eye-to-eye contact is Respect 101 and our names are our favorite word, period.  Eye contact and hearing our spoken name are our earliest human experiences. When someone uses our name, it is a straight-line path to our identity, individuality and security. In our screen-addicted “friends and followers” world, recognition and individuality have never been more valued. When someone looks into our eyes and speaks our name, we feel recognized and significant.

When brainstorming ideas, collaboration translates into innovation.  Here, making direct eye contact and using someone’s name adds value and can move the agenda forward.  For example, in response to a colleagues’ suggestion you’ll gain more respect and credibility to look Ted in the eye and say, “Ted, I’d like to build on your idea of pink Oreos for breast cancer awareness. What if we took Ted’s idea and…”  versus not acknowledging Ted or his idea and saying “I have an idea, we should make pink Oreos with an embossed shape of a ribbon.”

Assuming idea ownership by using “I” is high-jacking and using “we” does not automatically make the suggestion collaborative.  However, eye contact coupled with address by name (the more times the better) elevates the discussion and adds dimension by giving individual recognition and credit to the idea source, in this case Ted.

We are drawn to teammates and leaders who use their ability to connect with others and who use a person’s name to respect, validate and give credit where credit is due. This builds trust and turns team collaboration into disruptive innovation. Modeling respect through the consistent use of eye contact and calling people by their name is easy and creates trusting relationships that definitively breed long-term success.

Share This