How To Build Better Rapport and Relationships
Many of the common phrases or "manners" we use daily in business (or life for that matter), could be preventing establishing rapport and relationships. When communicating with a superior, colleague, employee, or whomever it might be, consider how often phrases like "Please let me know when we can speak more about this...", "Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today!", "I look forward to working with you," are used.
As humans and specifically those with the XX chromosome, we have been taught to be polite and considerate of others - and please and thank you are a natural part of being cordial and friendly. And let's be honest, when we're trying to negotiate, sell a new idea, or navigate conflict in some way, we think that having manners makes us more likeable. In addition, the way we communicate through digital channels, where many use exclamation points or smiley faces to show our excitement or to make us seem less pushy.
Take a moment to reflect on written communications you receive and send throughout the day. Do you see a notable difference in style, especially with those that you know tend to get "what they want" out of their communication?
Communication is a critical part of being an effective leader. When we leverage words and phrases with the "hope" of getting a desired response based on being nice, we do ourselves a disservice. Therefore, committing to change your approach to communicating in a way that generates the response you desire is key. Specifically, working towards building rapport and relationships with those around you by not assuming you know how they will respond.
So how do you put yourself in a position to effectively negotiate and influence to get the result you want? Consider the following examples in your communications:
- Stay away from "emotional" or "feeling" phrases - words or icons (emojis) that convey a feeling such as like, love, enjoy, and use of exclamation points.
- Include a next step or the follow-up you want to have happen. Do not be shy about closing out your communication with something like, "If I do not hear back from you, I will follow-up with you in a week." This helps set the expectation that you will be back in touch. If the person with whom you are communicating is too busy or not ready to respond, they know you will circle back.
- Focus on clear, concise statements that communicate what you want, why, when, and, if it makes sense, what is in it for them. With our mounting inbox and short attention spans, people don't want to feel like they are being "sold." The focus shifts to allowing the recipient the opportunity to "buy in" to your idea.
This shift in communication can be difficult because we have learned behaviors that are the complete opposite. These changes may make us "feel" as if we are being too direct or too presumptive. Start implementing these suggestions in your daily communication and track your progress. It does not have to be an all or nothing, just try a few here and there and determine if the change impacts your leadership effectiveness and ability to "sell" ideas to others.
Adriana Puente is an Associate of The Rawls Group, a business succession planning firm. Adriana specializes in dealing with the issues that must be resolved by business owners to implement succession strategies geared towards building business value. For additional information, visit www.rawlsgroup.com or call 407-578-4455.
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