Start With Helloing Training

WHAT: We start with hello-ing to all we meet, whoever they may be, wherever we may meet them---on the sidewalks, in our neighborhoods, where we shop, in court and anywhere else we may be. We start with hello-ing.


  • Change our society. Incremental change is one way. And it’s

the most powerful force for change known to history. Start With hello-ing.

  • Build trust and relationships. Find common ground. Start with hello-ing.

  • Enlarge your community. Start with hello-ing.

  • Empower yourself, breaking down self-imposed barriers, discovering what happens to your preconceived ideas and your feelings about people when you start with hello-ing.

  • Empower those you meet---the police officer, the shopper, your neighbor, the person on the street, those with different racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds---with the same opportunities for changing our society, letting them react to, and discover, the power of hello-ing.

Start where you are

  1. Prepare

    1. Take deep breaths before you actively engage anyone. (It has been said by many that 5 deep breaths puts one in a meditative state.) We recommend a mindfulness/ meditation regimine for life whether you Start With Helloing or not.#StartWithHelloing

    2. Envision being fulfilled during engagements.

    3. Smile to yourself and bring up good feelings as you do this. This process will help you be intentional, present and authentic and work out of your heart.

    4. Start off giving yourself a measurable amount of time or circumstance. Eg., I’m going to do this from 10am to 10:15; I’m going to do this the entire time I’m at the grocery store, the justice center, City Hall, etc.

  2. Be mindful -

    1. Notice your surroundings.

    2. Look at the person or people you have the possibility to engage. Notice faces, are they smiling or seemingly not present, staring into the distance or frowning?

    3. Practice making no judgement about what you see.

  3. Make eye contact and smile.


  • Go through 1 and 2 as above.

  • Make eye contact, smile and say hello.

  • Capture the moment.

    • Let us know when significant things happen. Recount the exchange. Write about it.

    • Do a video diary on the spot.

    • If things go swimmingly, consider a camera pic of or a selfie with your new acquaintance.

Move out of your comfort zone

Where do you avoid going? Who do you avoid contact with? Police? Kids with sagging pants? Guys with long hair? People with disabilities? Loud neighbors?

Where do you think smiles are needed?

Grab a smile partner and go through the process with your smile partner. Add your own preparation if you like. Would that involve 5 minutes of yoga or a happy dance?

About Expectations

Understand this is a contract with yourself.These actions are not dependent on the responses you get or don’t get. You are giving a gift.

Giving this gift thinking, “as long as people smile back, I’m all in,” leaves a little to be desired.

Although often very gratifying there are plenty of times you get snubbed, or given dirty looks, or perhaps in a heavily populated area, eye contact is just the incentive someone you’ve never met needs… to bum some money from you... on the pretense they'll pay you back next time s/he sees you. This is a wonderful time to deepen the interaction, cast the love-net wider.

The beauty of mindful smile behavior is

  1. It requires no agreement of the recipient for it to be successful.

  2. No matter the recipient’s state of mind it has some kind of impact.

  3. The effect can be cumulative. Eg., the more you engage and smile at a person the more times they feel included. Research indicates we are hardwired to search out smiles and feel like part of the pack, however nebulous that connection may be.

  4. You can do this as an individual, in tandem, or groups.

  5. You can single out a segment of the population.

  6. You can single out a geographic area.

  7. It can signal unity. Eg., I talked to a woman who wants an alternative to militarizing her neighborhood contrary to the request of an elder who wanted a police presence at night while she walked her dog. “I watch her when she walks down the street to make sure she is safe, I don’t want police in here like that.” My response: Start with hello-ing. Open your door and shout, “How ya doin this evening Ms. X?” Would-be felons now know she is being watched. Better yet, sit on your porch while she is out. See where this is going?



Does it have to be “hello?”


Absolutely not. “Hey” “How’s it going?” “Whassup?” “How ya doin?” “What it be like?” “Bonjour” “Hola!” “Que tal?” “‘ta bien?” What ever feels right and causes you to come from a place of authenticity and that you glean will most connect.


Do I have to smile?


Eye contact and a nod is pretty significant, but smiling is “where it’s at.”

Ques: I’m female and don’t feel comfortable saying hello or making eye contact with


Ans: One great thing about StartWithHelloing is you are completely in charge. If it is

a goal to overcome this discomfort try incorporating it when with others.


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