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Over the years, I have discovered that treating people with respect will win their trust and develop lasting relationships.  Here are 5 things you can do.

1) Be on time. In fact, make it a point to arrive early for appointments and meetings.  Be sure to plan time in your daily schedule for getting prepared for your appointment. In other words, make a note of when you will stop working on a task, begin collecting resource materials, and hit the road to the meeting.  Allow time for traffic delays. In some very congested cities like Houston or Los Angeles, for example, this is a tall order, but you must plan well.  Consider: The fastest way to destroy people’s trust in you is to waste their time.

2) Communicate with others. Answer your phone and return phone calls.  Give your undivided attention. Listen carefully and completely when people talk to you. Before telling about yourself, show an interest in others. Devote all of your attention to what the other person is saying. Do not time share with other tasks, such as texting or checking e-mail. Phone others only when you can devote full attention to what the other person is saying. You can’t do this while driving. Consider: ignoring people is rude and unprofessional.

3) Plan projects. For example, always prepare an agenda for meetings. Contact key participants before the meeting to hear their views, solicit suggestions for agenda items, and coach them on how to prepare for the meeting.  It is a good idea to send agendas far enough before the meeting so that people have time to prepare. Consider: Bad meetings demonstrate an inability to provide leadership.

4) Be courteous. Find the good in everyone. Compliment others. Avoid starting or listening to gossip. Never ridicule, insult, or make fun of other people. Use positive words, always speaking about what you want and how you want things to be. Avoid suggesting motives or assigning judgments for other people’s actions and views. Consider:  Discourtesy damages all relationships.

5) Help others. Be a mentor for newcomers. Share ideas. Teach people skills that will help them excel. Work with a spirit of abundance. Seek win/win results. Let others speak first, even on issues where you are an expert. Give first without attaching a receipt for return favors. Consider: Selfish people end up working harder.

* J Thomas Smith is host of “Sunday Morning Live” on KMJQ/Majic 102.1 (9-11 am). He is an attorney, author, speaker and mental health consultant.