If you want to be successful, learn to communicate

15 Oct 2018
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How to use your innate resources to stand out

What does communication mean to you? In an increasingly digital world, human contact is perhaps even more valuable in the business world and our personal lives than it was a few years ago.

Most people recognise it’s a 2-way process, of talking and listening. Some people will go further and say it’s more about the listening than the talking – after all, we have 2 ears and 1 mouth so communication should be in that ratio.
But what about all those non-verbal cues? The facial expressions, eye contact, body movements and then there’s using your voice, the cadence, volume, intonation, pitch… and did you know you can set the tone for communication by careful use of an inbuilt system we all have, called mirror neurons. Our mirror neurons help us identify ‘friend or foe’ through behaviour, and because imitation is such a powerful learning tool they are related with empathic, social and imitations behavior – the basis for building trust.
This knowledge might be particularly useful if you want to get someone on your side, seeing things from your point of view, if you want sell your products or services…
– if you work in a sales environment, you want to build trust with your customers which turns them into a ‘warm prospect’, and that can make the difference between walking away empty handed or sealing the deal
– if you’re a business owner or director, manager, team leader, engendering trust in your employees will make implementing changes easier, as well as improving productivity which has to be good for business
– and it works the other way round too, if you’re an employee who wants to shine ensuring your manager trusts you to do the job helps you stand out from your colleagues
– if you’re a therapist, coach or work with individuals, building rapport helps achieve positive outcomes quicker, so much depends on the trust they have in you to help them achieve whatever they need to
– if you’re a mentor, either formally or informally, your mentee is looking to you to provide answers and guidance through (yes, you’ve guessed it!) trust in your abilities and advanced experience
– if you’re going for an interview you want to get across to your potential employer that they have the right person sitting in front of them, that they can trust you will fit in and fill the role above anyone else they might be interviewing
That word ‘trust’ pops up a lot. It’s the foundation on which all good relationships are built, whether it’s between a parent and child, friends, colleagues, managers and employees… whatever the relationship is, moving it from shallow to something deeper and more meaningful takes trust.
And relationships lie at the heart of all effective teamwork. The ability to build rapport, communicate effectively, listen to each other and take on board other perspectives, agree goals and implement strategies are all key features of good leaders and a happy team.
Good relationships will cultivate sustainable group intelligence, as everyone is motivated to strive to do their best – a business will thrive or fail dependent upon the quality of interpersonal relationships, connecting its staff, leaders, clients and suppliers.
As a species, we have been learning to build rapport since infancy when as babies we used bonding in order to get our needs met. Although it is an unconscious, instinctive process, we can deliberately and consciously employ techniques in order to put someone at their ease and help them to trust us.
Steps to successfully build trust (when meeting face to face):
1) By first matching non-verbal behavior – perhaps crossing our legs or clasping our hands, leaning forwards or relaxing backwards display different listening modes – and tone of voice and expression, we can then begin to set the pace of these behaviours and move on to leading them. Matching behaviours is the basis on which trust is built, it’s naturally a subtle unconscious, instinctive process but one we can deliberately and consciously employ in order to put someone at their ease and help them to trust us (this is where our Mirror neurons come into play).
2) Using eye contact and physical encouragement (nodding head, demonstrating active listening) we begin entering their mode of reality, demonstrating that we understand where they are coming from
3) We can also check our understanding of what they have said, getting their agreement, and identifying potential barriers to initiate collaborative solutions
4) Getting and giving feedback, finding out how what you have said has impacted on the other person can help you improve your messages for the future, as well as clear up further misunderstanding at the time.
And the point when you could really do with building all this trust and rapport is often a time of stress – a job interview, managing change in a business, that important meeting with a client, wanting to shine at a presentation… knowing how to be an effective communicator might just be the little extra polish you need to seal the deal!
Are you interested in learning more about developing your communication skills, or that of your team? Turning our innate ability to rapport-build into a conscious technique can mean the difference between a hit-and-miss approach or being consistently successful, whether you are looking to improve your management team’s effectiveness or sales team results.
Or perhaps simply to improve your own communication skills, after all, communication is something we all need to do well but it’s not something that is often taught formally. We rely on picking up experience with what works and what doesn’t as we go, as part of developing our own style of communication – but a little tweaking can elevate your efforts and help you stand out from the crowd.
Contact us on 01798 344879 or email info@mind-yourbusiness.co.uk

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