When Cissy Komp passed away her funeral service overflowed with mourners. The parking lot filled up quickly and the valets had to direct traffic elsewhere, as large numbers of people kept coming.
The auditorium became standing room only and the crowd was directed into an adjoining room to see the closed circuit television broadcast showing the service.
Cissy was no celebrity. She was not a rock star, nor was she a big-time politician, or the head of a large company. How did this soft spoken lady become so popular?
The answer is very simple. She did what you and I could do; she took a sincere interest in others.
Cissy would learn people’s names which is something few of us do. Then she’d ask them about themselves, and listen carefully to their replies. This approach made each person feel important, feel special.
During the funeral service, one of Cissy’s daughters illustrated the point with a story. Once when she and Cissy were at the UCLA Medical Center because Cissy was seriously ill, Cissy spoke to a head nurse.
Rather than talk about herself, which Cissy had every reason to do, instead she asked this nurse her name, and then in stages, asked about her career, her family and her interests. With such an attentive listener as Cissy, this nurse like most people was delighted to discuss her life.
Later, when they didn’t have the medicine Cissy needed, even though it was after 6 pm, and that nurse was off-duty, she looked all over UCLA to find that medication for Cissy.
Cissy and her husband Tom became my wife Anne’s and my neighbors after they moved in to our condominium complex last year. She quickly got to know the names of others, including the head of maintenance, Jose Oropeza who she regularly engaged in conversation.
That day among the chapel crowd attending her service was Jose, who took part of the afternoon off so he could be there.
You may be thinking Cissy’s approach is easy for an outgoing person, but that’s not you. It wasn’t Cissy either, for she was soft-spoken. Try her method and you’ll be surprised at how well it works.
Introduce yourself with a smile. If you feel awkward or tongue tied in conversations, you’ll find it’s not a problem as you’ll have little to say other than, “That’s interesting. Please tell me more.” And people will happily do so as you become someone they look forward to being with.
After all, how could people not enjoy your company when you take such a thoughtful interest in them, something most of mankind deeply desires and too few receive.