For Photographers: How to Win Friends and Influence People Week 4

Become Genuinely Interested in Other People 

You know when you go through one of those icebreaker exercises and everyone goes around the group and says something unique or memorable about them.  I used to get frustrated trying to answer that question on the spot. Well over the last few years, I nailed my answer. I am a hot tea lover. And let me tell you, do not take this lightly. I enjoy reading about teas, smelling teas, hearing the stories and  learning the myths. And one of the principles of tea drinking is this: Enjoy it sip by sip rather than gulp by gulp.

This is how we genuinely enjoy the people around us, fellow artists, and clients. We enjoy each other sip by sip. And what I mean by this is that, we slow down. We don’t try to crack someone up quick and have them spill their deepest parts of themselves. No, we sit down, relax, and spend hours with a person. It is in these hours of listening, asking questions, and just hanging out that we show genuine interest in others. This is the principle Dale Carnegie shares in this chapter.

So how can we enjoy people sip by sip?

1.     How do I feel when people put me first? I like starting off with reflective questions. It puts me in the other person’s shoes and see differently. When people put me first, I always notice in myself this excitement and freedom. Feeling that someone cares makes me want to open up and say more than, “I am good, how are you?”

2.     How can we intentionally place others before work? For me, I am seeing that its as simple as talking. Whether I am on assignment for an organization or out doing a senior portrait, talking and putting my camera down builds a relationship. When we put people in front of our cameras, we are asking them to trust us.  With that said, it is important to build trust, be patient, ask questions, listen, and get to know the parts of the person that makes them unique. This takes time and is convicting for my task-oriented self. This reminds me to slow down. Sip by sip. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the person.

3.     How can we make sure our motives are pure? In the book, Carnegie shares the story of a man, who was a professional speaker. Every time before he stepped up to the stage, he spent a few minutes, reminding himself who it was all about—his audience. This was a refreshing method for me to hear. For me this looks like before I go out on a shoot, I either get up early or I spend my moments in the car getting focused and remembering what it is all about.

What about you? How do you plan on showing your clients or even just your family and friends how you care about them?