The 12 Most Important Ways to Let People Know They Matter

The measure of a life is not what that life accomplishes but rather the impact that life has on others.

Jackie Robinson

When I think of people who made the biggest impact in my life, it was not their expertise or accomplishments that provided me with the direction, guidance and reassurance I needed to accomplish my goals. It was their sincere belief in me. They let me know through their words and actions that I mattered.

The people in your life want that same validation. In fact, every single person you will ever meet shares this common desire. They want to know they matter.

Mattering a universal human need, and it’s one you have the opportunity to satisfy. But that depends on if the people in your life can answer, “yes” to the following questions:

  • Do you see me?
  • Do you hear me?
  • Do you care about me?
  • Do I matter to you?

Here are The 12 Important things to do now to ensure a “yes” every time you encounter or interact with someone significant or yet-to-be significant in your life.

1.  Begin and End your sentences with “YOU”

  • I believe in you
  • I hear you
  • I understand you
  • You were awesome
  • You rocked it
  • You amaze me

Imagine where these conversations will take you?

2.  Acknowledge Everyone

When you acknowledge someone, you recognize their value and importance. How about starting the day with a “Good Morning” email or Tweet? Or smiling at each and every co-workers as you pass by them by on way to the office? Or reaching out to a new acquaintance you see in a crowd or bump into in the Blogosphere?  Go out of your way to acknowledge people. Make an effort to “see them”.  Like the Na’vi in the movie Avatar, who greeted one another with the phrase “I see you” as a belief and acknowledgment there is something marvelous in everyone you meet.

3.  Listen With Interest

There is a difference between simply listening to people and listening with interest. This kind of listening requires your ears and heart. Listening with deep interest signifies that you really care about what someone is saying in contrast to simply listening because it is the nice thing to do. If you question whether people can tell the difference, DON’T. They can, and it matters.

4. Ask Mattering not Matter-of-Fact Questions

Question are a window into our minds and intentions. We show people how much they matter by the questions we ask. How important do these questions make you feel?

  • What rocked your world today?
  • Who’s world did YOU rock today?
  • How can I make your day?
  • What can I do to make it better?

5. Be Present

The ultimate present you can give another is your PRESENCE. How many times have you been in a conversation with someone, and you know their mind is in another place? How many times have you felt “un-noticed” when someone was looking right at you? You do not have to be available for everyone in every moment … but when you have someones time and attention; honor it with your presence. Really make that person the center of your attention and experience, even if only for a few minutes.

It does wonders in the mattering department!

6. Encourage and Reassure Confidence

If you’ve had the pleasure of teaching a classroom full of young children, you know how much encouragement matters. Children ask out loud, “Is this ok? Did I do it right? Do you like what I did?  The need the reassurance that we are headed in the right direction, does not stop when you leave grade school.  When you encourage others, you not only communicate that you care and they matter; you add fuel to their motivational fire. And perhaps more than anything else, you give them hope and inspiration. If you need a model of how this works, check out this guy.


Click the banner to order!

7. Deliver Happiness (HT to Zappos)

Cynicism sucks. It sucks the life out of work, business, and people.

Life and work is hard enough and it is easy to get into situations that tear us down. People want and need to be inspired. When people are inspired, they are lifted above these kinds of circumstances and allowed to see the upside of what they can achieve or become. If you can be the one who inspires them, by encouragement or modeling, you’ve helped them and you matter!

8.  Talk About Others

No one likes the person in the family, at work, or at the party who only talks about themselves, their interests, their accomplishments and their importance, right?

You become far more interesting and important when you talk about the exciting things other people are doing, trying, creating, writing, and sharing. Doing so gives you the opportunity to make a lot of new friends and establish yourself as someone who is always learning and growing from others. Now, that’s an accomplishment worth talking about.

9.  Offer Hope

At every moment of the day, we are either making the world a better place or making it worse. Our thoughts spread out and become contagious, either positively infecting others or unleashing a plague of negativity, doubt and fear. We have the power to help lift someone up or to bring them down. How we interact with those we meet may be the catalyst that sets someone into an emotional tailspin or the spark that provides them with encouragement and HOPE for a better day… or maybe even a better life.

10.  Sweat the Small Stuff

Today I heard from a friend.  It was a simple text message asking how I was doing followed by a :-). It mattered.

It doesn’t take much to make someone’s day. It could be a smile, wink, or tweet.  It could be an email of praise or a pat on the back for encouragement. Or, a call to say, “hi – how ya doin’, you were on my mind. Almost always, it’s something small that makes a big difference. So, do sweat the small stuff.

11. Tell the people in your life how you feel about them

If it doesn’t come natural to you, all the more reason to do it more often. It will begin to feel natural soon. Of course, “You matter” is what everyone wants to hear, but other phrases work just as well:  “I’m happy to see you. You mean so much to me. You’re contribution to the team is immeasurable. I so appreciate you.” The language of mattering is universal; no translation necessary. Tell people and tell them often how much they matter!

12.  Make The Choice

Mattering is a choice. Give yourself that option everyday. It doesn’t matter how you do it- it only matters that you do it. You can say it, write it, tweet it, or deliver the message in person. Make the choice everyday to tell, offer, thank, encourage, inspire, and let others know you notice and believe in them. It could be and often will be the most powerful thing you do all day. Is mattering on your TO DO list?

I’ll leave you with this final thought and challenge.

  • Can you imagine what kind of world we can create by each of us knowing we matter, believing in ourselves and supporting one another?
  • Can you imagine how actions you take today, could make a difference in some one’s life tomorrow? And that ripple would last for generations?
I can, and I know this simple, clear message of “YOU MATTER”  has the power to change lives and change the world.
Just ask these amazing world changers:

Join me in letting the world know in big and small ways that they matter. And in case you’ve not yet been told today that what you do makes a difference, than let me be the first to say…


Cross Posted on 12 Most

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  • datruss

    What a wonderful list Angela! 
    Thanks for sharing, and for the reminder to spend time on developing relationships that are important in our lives.
    You Matter! :-) 

  • Sannevt

    The above article is so true!!  Just from experience walk in and smilie to everyone you see and you see the rewards!!! The power of a SMILE is amazing just try it sometime you will feel the reward!!!

  • Kyle Timms

    Brings me back to the fundamental job of every teacher or leader, make every student fell significant every day.

  • Kyle Timms

    Brings me back to the fundamental job of every teacher or leader, make every student fell significant every day.

  • Bruce Sallan

    Teach, YOU always matter to me! How’d I do on that pop-quiz????!!!!!

  • Bruce Sallan

    Teach, YOU always matter to me! How’d I do on that pop-quiz????!!!!!

  • Alex Van Tol

    Really great post. Thanks for thinking this through. I love number 7. Agreed: cynicism sucks. So does a general attitude of negativity. I avoid Eeyores like the plague. 

  • Angela Maiers

    Thank you Alex! They are so simple, but always good to have a reminder! Feel free to add! 

  • Angela Maiers

    Passed with flying colors my favorite student!  Shhh..can not tell anyone that! 

  • Angela Maiers

    You are spot on Kyle. Imagine what our system would be if that was the mission we stressed over and obsessed about measuring! 

  • Angela Maiers

    Thank you- I am so glad that you agree! A Smile is such a simple act of kindness. It is amazing what rewards one brings. Smiling at your comment! :-)

  • Angela Maiers

    Thank you my friend! Such simple reminders for learners and leaders. We talk about the importance of relationships; this makes the conversations actionable. So honored you like it! YOU MATTER! 

  • Android iPad 2

    Really these points are very helpful to us while talking with some one for doing business with him or for hiring some one. Thank you for knowing us about these worthy tips.

  • shan

    I like to greet each child as they arrive to our integrated pre-school classroom.  Some children just need to know that I am so glad they came to school today.  It is one way to show them that they matter.

  • Chad Guge

    During a week where I felt like I didn’t teach ANYTHING to my students in terms of content, I needed this reminder (and a few from fellow colleagues) that sometimes it’s not the content that the kids care about, but it’s the relationship and knowing that they are significant and that they mean something to this world. I focus more on that than content, no matter how many Iowa Core Curriculum standards I get into their heads. Thanks for the reminder that it is indeed the signficance of relationship that matters over the significance of intelligence!

  • Angela Maiers

    Hi Chad! You did teach your students something; something with legacy lasting impact. Mattering is what they will remember- they will remember the teacher that noticed them, honored them, valued their contributions, and showed them they mattered! 

    Your students are so lucky to have you! #youmatter

  • Angela Maiers

    Yes I so agree Shan. Just a simple gesture like this can change the entire day of learning for a child!  Thanks for the reminder! 

  • Douglas Crets

    It’s typical that I will sometimes feel like I don’t matter to the situation around me, but after some reflection (something I have to do every day), I realize that it’s not important that I matter so much, but that I let someone else know that I care about them. It’s amazing how taking this frame of perception leads me to believe that I matter. I think you really do give to get. And what you get is usually a positive degree better than what you give sometimes. 

  • Al

    Thanks Angela.  Love this.  This is like The CARE Movement multiplied.  Ha.  Great list.  Will be saving this one.  Excellent.  Begin and end your sentence with “You”, truly “Listen”, be “Present” are all great reminders.

    Faithful & Grateful.  Always. Take CARE.


  • Jane Boyd

    Just wonderful ideas here.  So many of them are so simple – yet powerful.  Thank you.

  • Tom Harvey

    Angela, I very much would like you to take a look at my book, “Listen to Your Kids: Solutions for Distraught Teachers and Parents.” I believe you and I are very much on the same page, very much share the same general philosophy. Thanks for sharing this with me! People who  care for others make our world a much better place. Love

  • Michelle

    Angela, I loved this list!  Thank you!  I think my favorite one is #7:   “Cynicism sucks. It sucks the life out of work, business, and people.”  

  • Sabrina

    There were so many on this list that I’d never heard before. Thank you so much for sharing such an easily implementable list, Angela.

  • Al Smith

    Hi Angela. It’s been awhile. This is one of the best lists. Ever. I love it.
    Thanks. You Matter, my friend.

  • Timothy Scholze

    Angela, you inspire me to be a better person every day. I thank God that our paths have crossed and that I can learn from and with you. I have included you in my Personal Learning Network. Thanks for being you!

  • Helena Roth

    Thx a lot for this – it’s “basic” stuff, and that’s the most amazing stuff to share, because the threshold isn’t too high, it’s not impossible to just start to implement this right off! Great!

  • Lisa E

    What a beautiful mission you’re on, and resource you provide the world. I think we forget sometimes that we’ve all experienced feeling insignificant, that if we haven’t yet we will, and if we have we surely will again, and somehow remembering can ignite a call to action to smile a little more, to compliment a stranger an to reach out to someone for the sake of connection, whether we or they’re in struggle or aren’t.

  • Joffre (J.D.) Meyer

    I took five pages of notes; then I got misty-eyed after the video. Tweeted the article.

  • Angela Marie

    Thanks Angela! I try everyday first and foremost with my kids to let them know they matter more than anything in the world, not to just myself but to everyone. I have a friend who lives 4hrs away and is going through a really rough patch in her life. She is so depressed that she is referring to her life as a black hole. I came looking for some ways that i could let her know her worth and that she matters everyday. I came across your article, again thank you Angela!
    <3 You are amazing

  • brody

    yeah..u r such a good teacher

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