The key to business success lies in our ability to build solid relationships with others. In the August 2013 edition of our Business Transformations newsletter we discussed how to Get an Edge on Your Competition, including learning how to develop strong relationships with others which are unique to you. Below we share with you seven specific NLP tips to help you to become a master relationship builder.
1. Build instant rapport
Instantly create a feeling of trust and familiarity with anyone you meet, within seconds of meeting them. A simple way to do this is to observe others and then to match or copy their posture ie. how they sit or stand, the tilt of their head, whether they cross their arms or legs, etc. Make sure that you are subtle when you match them, and only match one or two aspects of their posture until you feel you have rapport with them. This will allow the rest of your communication to be that much more effective.
2. Really listen
When we are caught up with all the thoughts inside our head we can miss out on really hearing what others say to us, which can lead to misunderstandings. Instead, shut off your internal dialogue and really listen, hear and focus your attention on what the other person is saying. This will assist you to really understand their needs rather than make potentially costly assumptions based on your internal dialogue. When people feel heard, they feel respected and valued, which increases their trust in doing business with you.
3. Respect the other person’s model of the world
Each one of us has different experiences, values and beliefs and these determine how we respond and react to situations. In communicating with others, it is important to realise that their model of the world is unique to them as ours is to us. Rather that engaging in a discussion about who is right or wrong, respect the different points of view. Ask enough questions to see the other person’s point of view (even if you disagree with it); this helps to better understand others, and avoids disagreements and miscommunication.
4. Use appropriate words
How we communicate with others in our initial and subsequent meetings with them has a significant impact on our ability to win their trust and their business. There are four major communication styles: visual (pictures), auditory (sounds), kinesthetic (feelings) and auditory digital (self talk), and each one uses specific words. For example, people with a visual preference will use words like look, see, show, while people with an auditory preference will use words like hear, sounds and discuss. Most people have a strong preference for one or two styles. Therefore, it is important to tailor the language you use to their preferences so that you are clear in your communication.
5. Chunk your information appropriately
Some people need a lot of detail before they can proceed with a task or make a decision, while others simply need to be told the big picture. Begin to observe others as you communicate with them and notice whether they have the appropriate level of information. Give too much information to a big picture person and their eyes may glaze over and their thoughts may drift off. Leave out information for a detail person and they may not be interested in doing a task or may even ask many questions.
6. Influence others through your questions
You can direct a conversation by asking appropriate questions. Formulating questions such as “How specifically?” will assist in obtaining clarity and detail on an issue, or when the person you are speaking with is too vague in what they say eg. “I want to improve everything.” In contrast, using vague language such as “You may have noticed...” allows others to come up with their own solutions and empowers them to resolve issues in their own way. This works really well for people who dislike being micro managed.
7. Be flexible
If you only use your own style when communicating with others, you will likely appeal to only some people and miss out on building relationships with others. To maximize your ability to build relationships with everyone, be flexible and get a grasp of the above tips so your message can clearly get through each time. Excellent leaders, entrepreneurs, salespeople and communicators are great at influencing others with integrity by being flexible. Now, imagine yourself as a master relationship builder!