12 Most Powerful Ways to Let People Know They Matter

12 Most Powerful Ways to Let People Know They Matter

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.

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

-Jackie Robinson

Mattering is 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.

7. Deliver Happiness

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.

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…


Photo courtesy of jinterwas, used under creative commons license. Some rights reserved.

Angela Maiers


Angela Maiers is an award-winning educator, speaker, consultant and professional trainer known for her work in literacy, leadership and global communications. She is a consistently energized and recognized worldwide speaker greatly impacting leadership through not only the education field, but the international business community as well. Challenging educational philosophies and business ethics, Angela strives to achieve total synergy and unstoppable energy by reconstructing the thought process of many dated ideologies.

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Hopeless Romantic
Hopeless Romantic

Michael, you don't think you're worth it... you don't think you're worth me... but maybe I'm the one who's not worth you :( because I love you, depression, eating disorder, and all, but you don't see it... maybe, just maybe, am I the one who's not worth it? *sigh* it breaks me that you think you're not worth it, and I'm sorry I'm not good enough to be able to show you how worth it you are... I feel horrible. I'm so sorry.


@ZinkEd_u You matter to me!!!!! :). Love this.


@jpablodonoso thank you so much for sharing!


Angela, GREAT post! This article should be required reading for anyone who manages in business. Also required reading for leaders!


This is great! Love #4, 10 and 11....imagine the ripple effect! If we all did one small thing...that make the big things, wow! We are on the same page, today for sure! All the best,

Rita Brennan Freay



Terrific points Angela, and they don't require a budget! I liked #1, 7 & 11. It's amazing how we try not to be personal just so we don't harm anyone. When you're being positive, it's great to be personal. People like the sun for many reasons. #7 means being the sun for people in their lives. #11 means making a connection. I love your heartfelt points; they are dead on. Thank you for the post.


@angelamaiers Fantastic article on #youmatter i'm going to print and post in my faculty room! Thanks for sharing such great ideas


I also work for a school district (at a high school) and this list should be posted in every staff lounge, mail room and any other area where faculty/staff are present. Many of the problems communicating with teens could be avoided simply by following your wise and timely advice. Thank you very much!


This is sobering and poignant! As a leader of several people, programs, & initiatives in a large school district, it makes me look in the mirror and determine ways to make those around me matter, more. 2011-2012 shall be the States of Matter at my department! I proclaim it.


@kdwashburn Your post has mattered to many- over 100 shares, 1000 views, and many many ripples to come! Wise words from a wise writer!


@angelamaiers I noticed "Test the snot out of them" didn't make that list of ways to let ppl know they matter. What gives?!


This is important to me because you live your principles. Can you imagine what the world woule be like If there were more people who did just that? You matter, I matter, and everyone we meet matters. Make the world a better place, one person at a time.


I loved this list... but I think my faves may be #1 and #12. Others need to know that we relate to them on their terms and not necessarily on ours. Also, neither of 1 - 11 will be effective if we don't make that active choice. Thanks so much for the spring that you've put into my step. Excellent stuff!


Angela, aloha. Again, CONGRATULATIONS on your TED talk; it was magnificent. What I loved about the talk and this post is the way you clearly identify the ways to show people #YouMatter.

Also, I love going forward with the #YouMatter hashtag because of the awareness it creates.

Even though we have known each other only a short time, you have enriched my life via your tweets & posts. Angela, #YouMatter to me. Until next time, aloha. Janet


Angela, What a great list for all of us to start using today! Shifting from I to You can make a conversation so much more personal. In some cases defuse confrontation.

Your list is wisdom we all can use.


There is so much amazing content here Angela - I love the one about "Being Present" I think that so many of us confuse time by clock rather than time by meaning.

Since I work so much it isn't always easy to be available for all of my kids stuff. I am working hard to focus on shutting down from distractions and being there with them.

So many good lessons here! Thank you Angela - YOU MATTER


You are correct about the impact of the word "you" in conversation. "You" is also a terribly under-utilized word in copy, especially web copy.

You have a great list going here. Somehow I seem to struggle with each item on the list.


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