Knowing what people want and need is the key to understanding them. And once you understand them, you can influence them and impact their lives in a positive way. Below are three helpful insights to not only understand people better, but to engage them with a whole new dynamic that may just wow them:

  • Everybody wants to be somebody – According to Abraham Maslow’s theory on the Hierarchy of Human Needs, the need to be somebody, to have significance, is something that lives within every man or woman’s motivations. And I would have to agree. I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t possess at least some desire to be important. Even the least ambitious and unassuming person still wants to be esteemed by others. It’s the human nature, an innate need to matter. Once you possess this awareness about others, you will likely create much more meaningful interactions. And if you treat everyone you encounter as though they’re the most important person in the world, you’ll communicate that they are somebody – to you.
  • Everybody needs somebody – In order to be “somebody,” everybody needs somebody. No one is self-made, in spite of what some might believe. Everybody who got somewhere got there because of others helping them along the way. When I think of the opportunities that have been afforded to me in my life, I’m not so pretentious to think that they resulted from my own doing. On the contrary, it has been because of those who have taken the time to mentor me, to open a door for me, to work beside me, or to give me the motivation I needed to move forward. That said, have you considered that maybe you’re that “somebody” for someone else? If you are, don’t underestimate your impact on them. When you are willing to give to others and help them, without any ulterior motive, you can significantly change their life just like those in your past impacted yours.
  • Everybody can be somebody when they know someone believes in them – Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care. I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before. But to be an influencer, to make your interactions with others count, you have to love people. You have to show them that you believe in them. The moment that people see this about you, they will thrive just off your vote of confidence in them. They will begin seeing in themselves what, otherwise, they could not see before. They will start believing in their own potential. And the reward you will receive in being this kind of an instigator is not simply the good feeling in making them feel good, but it is in knowing that your support and cheerleading has injected a confidence within them to do the extraordinary.

I can remember when I was in high school, there was this girl that no one ever talked to. And it irritated me. But then I realized I, too, had never taken the time to acknowledge her either. So, finally, one day I decided that I would just go over and talk to her. I mean actually validate her existence, not just throw her a “Hey, how ya doing? Okay, see ya later!” To my surprise, when I sat down beside her and said, “Hello,” her eyes got as big as watermelons. I think she was shocked that anybody would even take the time for her. I didn’t really know what to say, but I proceeded anyway. I guess I just wanted her to know that I thought she was important. Years later, this girl contacted me and told me how much that day and that conversation made a difference in her life.

I share that story, not to toot my own horn, but to testify of the importance of validating a person’s worth. When you treat everybody like they’re somebody you can literally change their life. Remember, it doesn’t take much effort to show people that you really care. Often, it’s just the little things – a smile, a word, a gift, an apology – that make the biggest difference.