I am always honored when someone stops and takes the time to be interested in what matters to me—my work, my kids, my golf game. These conversations appear as a sharp contrast to other going-through-the-motions types of inquiries that lately seem to be the cultural norm—like asking “How are you doing?” while passing someone in the hall without waiting to hear the answer.
If you consider that relationships are defined through the pattern of conversations you have, checking in with people is an important one to have in the pattern. I encourage you to explore this notion of ‘checking in’ with people in a couple of ways.
First, when you run into people you haven’t seen for a while, take a few minutes to check in with them. Be deliberate about finding out how they are doing and catching up with what is happening in their lives. You will need to be intentional when you ask the first question because the tendency for most people is to answer quickly with “Fine.” Instead, try, “If you’ve got a minute, I’d love for you to tell me about how you are doing. What’s going on in your life?”
Also, when someone checks in with you, take advantage of the invitation and give a thoughtful response that will add to the relationship and your experience of the conversation.
Second, consider checking in with people a valuable process step in the issue-related conversations you have at work. That is, begin by asking people what their thinking is on the issue, and then stay with the conversation until you are clear about where they stand.
Why check in with people?
People want to be noticed, included, and connected. If you are interested in engagement, it takes conversations.
The level of work we can get done in a meeting is influenced by the degree of relationship and connection that walks into the meeting.
So make it a point to check in with at least one person a day, and over time begin to notice what happens. Not only will your relationships deepen, but your interest and sincere listening will make someone’s day!