Have you ever wondered what makes politicians so good with a small group of people?
Successful politicians learn quickly to presume a meaningful relationship with everyone in the room and to act thusly. “So nice to see you!” “How is everything with you?” “You look great.” “How is everything going?” “What’s new with you lately?” These and scores of similar statements and questions presume a preexisting relationship, even with strangers.
Acting as if you know people encourages them to relax, open up and engage. This is doubly true when leaders have a unique status with those in the room. Leaders everywhere could benefit from this simple idea.
Try it and you’ll see it is neither inauthentic (as a human being you really do know something about everyone else in the room), nor difficult. And one more thing to borrow from politicians: Make sure everyone in the room believes there is no place you would rather be than with them.