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Gracious, Genuine Greetings

Gracious, Genuine Greetings

How many times a day do you meet and greet someone?

Is the hello you give to others a fleeting fake flippancy, or is it a gracious genuine greeting?

How many times do those greetings you give or get mean something worthwhile? Have you ever stopped to think about just how much mileage you could get out of those habitual, carelessly tossed out hiyas and how ya doin’s you barely think about anymore?

These thoughts came to mind for me in the past few days because within my Managing with Aloha Jumpstart program we have been talking about articulating Aloha. Linguists tell us that the two Hawaiian words most recognized in the rest of the world are Hawai‘i, the name of my island home, and Aloha. For most people outside Hawai‘i, aloha means “hello and goodbye — right?”

The answer is yes, and much more.

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However my purpose here is not to hawk Aloha. Let’s just talk about your greeting for others, even if Aloha is never the word you choose to use; I do accept that it may be outside your comfort zone. Let’s talk about what you do say, and more importantly, how you say it.

Most of us simply don’t pay attention to our greetings at all. We may ask, “How are you?” but we keep moving and hustle on by, and we don’t stop to hear an answer. We barely make eye contact, and our smile has become a casualty of neglect.

So understandably, many people don’t bother answering us. They might just raise their eyebrows or slightly nod their heads, and they don’t feel they are being rude or are ignoring us; they accept that we didn’t really expect an answer anyway. They are quite sure we had tossed out our quick greeting to be polite.

Polite?!?

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Well, if that’s polite, I dread the thought of what else we consider acceptable before we reach the dregs of rude. Our standards of acceptable behavior have gotten to be pretty appalling.

Worse is the gaping neglect. How about those people you might pass by every day, and because they are always just there, or you don’t know them that well, you never bother greeting them at all. Head down, you pass them by as if they don’t even exist.

And what about your family? Are the ones who near never get your morning greeting or evening farewell, the same ones that you actually profess to love most in the world, the ones you claim to be living your life in a meaningful way for? Are they the ones you take for granted most of all?

If we want to be treated with dignity and respect, we have to conduct ourselves with distinction first. We must be deserving, and it seems to me a decent greeting given to others who bring our world to vivid life is a good way to start. This is February, the month meant for loving each other, remember?

Listen, I admit I neglect my aloha greetings at times too. However I want to get better. Sometimes my writing is my own wake up call, that’s the beauty of opportunities like this (thank you Leon!)

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So are you with me?

We can start with committing to a new habit of giving gracious, genuine greetings to others in every single encounter. It is not difficult, and it really doesn’t take that much time. And so what if it does take a few more moments? Would that really be all that bad? Mere moments, with intentional aloha in your greeting could work magic for you.

That “more” in aloha is so much about attitude. It is about the love of self and love of others, unconditionally, and always giving the benefit of the doubt because you expect to find good in others. It is about having thankfulness that you are not on this planet all alone. It is about realizing how fleeting life may turn out to be, and living it in the best possible way in every single moment.

Join me in my campaign for gracious, genuine greetings:
——Stop in your tracks.
——Make eye contact and smile broadly and sincerely. Get your eyes to smile too.
——Say “Hello, it’s good to see you today” and mean it.
——If you ask a question, stick around for the answer and be interested in it. Respond in kind, and enjoy the conversation.
——When someone greets you and asks how you are, say “I am so much better now for having you ask me, thank you!”

Then drink in the magic. I can guarantee you it will happen.
My aloha to you, sincerely,
Rosa

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Article referenced here: Can you help me articulate aloha? ——[There are some great, very insightful comments at the end of the article.]

Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is also the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: Long Live the Calendar.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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