The fourth key to unlock an awesome discussion is this: add value to people.

John Maxwell, a renowned leadership mentor, author and speaker, is a major proponent of this concept and movement today. You would catch him say it over and over. It drove him inexplicably!

He has not only shared this game-changing idea to his organization or to the people to whom he mentored… but also, he has passed this on to his own family.

In a talk he gave at the Global Leadership Summit back in 2016, I was floored particularly by how he embodied this to his own kin.

I vividly remembered his example on how he gathered his grandchildren on a Saturday night and, knowing that the following day’s going to be a Sunday (or church day),  he would purposefully ask: “How can we add value to the people we find at church tomorrow?” (paraphrased)

Just wow! What an unselfish way of doing things… And, what a way to mentor your own grandkids!

But, let me pause for a while and ask you a question from a different angle: What difference does it make when you choose to add value to people in every meeting or gathering you have?

To add value — the way I understand it — is a personal conscious decision to put on a cloak of humility everyday, to think less of oneself and more of others, and to find ways to bless other people.

Blessing others can be manifested through a verbal affirmation, a simple gesture of kindness or even just by listening. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary or extravagant (unless you really want to!). You can be as creative as you can, so long as the end goal is to build a person up.

In every meeting I have, regardless the size, I ask myself two things as I go through the discussion process:

  1. What can I learn? Therefore, I take mental notes and load them on my device (either in my Notes on the phone or OneNote on my tablet) or scribble them on a physical journal. I make it a habit to chronicle insights that I learn.
  2. What can I do to add value to the people I meet? Let me take more time here, and share with you what I’ve learned to apply thus far.
  • I pray before going to every meeting I have. I ask God to open “divine appointments” for me, and ask Him to empower me to see where He’s leading me and serve people out of joy.
  • If I have extra time and resource, I buy food for the individual or group. Having food on the table makes people at ease.
  • I have also developed a habit of intentionally observing people and listening to their thoughts during discussions.
  • And quietly, I think of ways to encourage the group or at least one of them.
  • You have to understand that thinking less of ourselves takes practice and… it takes pains. It’s simply counter-intuitive. It takes sacrifice.

The benefits of this fourth key to an awesome discussion is indescribable — they are not always tangible, but you know that it’s life-giving.

It brings joy to people because they feel they’re important. People remember the simplest acts of kindness — they embed good marks in the heart. And lastly, you would eventually notice that you’d end your time together with a sense of anticipation for the next gathering.

Meetings are not dreaded because they bring value to people. Simple appointments become divine appointments.

How about you? How can you help add value to those around you in the next few days? What thoughts were brewing as you read this post today? What difference will it truly make when we choose to add value to people in every meeting or gathering we have?