Like most of us introverted techie nerds, I struggle at building rapport with people. I get lost in my thoughts and forget to be friendly, respectful, and sane. I also start making excuses for my behavior and then write about it in a blog.
Thankfully, my leadership training has taught me some valuable skills on how anybody can overcome those uncomfortable moments when you must actually speak with another living creature.
Here’s the list:
- Look at their nose: I know this sounds weird, but it appears to the other person that you are looking into their eyes without that spooky “window into the soul” feeling. However, this can backfire if they have a giant zit on their nose.
- Be Positive: Ranting and raving about what you hate is absolutely repulsive, even if the other person agrees with you. Shift the conversation into what you love, care about, or hope for. It is far more inspiring and far less likely to involve any mention of “fake news.”
- Listen: Let them talk. We like people who listen to us.
- Questions Beat Answers: Rather than blather about yourself, ask questions. It makes you sound more interested than you really are. What do you think about that?
- Ask for an Opinion: Additional, ask for the person’s opinion. Most people are gullible. They will tell you exactly what they are feeling and thinking. This helps you separate the interesting people from the emotional vampires.
- Compliment: Our brains are hard-wired to like people who complement us. Have I told you how awesome you look today? Feels good, doesn’t it?
- Ponder Their Feelings: Here is another weird one, but just thinking about what the other person feels makes you more likable. You do not need to have an answer. Thinking about the other person changes your face, posture, and tone and makes you more approachable. And while you ponder their feelings, you might actually have a genuine moment of human bonding rather than frothing about how unfair life is on LinkedIn.
- Live without Judgement: This is for advanced leaders. My CEO coach challenged me to do this. Try going a full day without judging anybody? That means no hating people, no calling people names, no looking down on others, and so forth. It is much more difficult than it sounds. However, it is a wonderful way to free yourself of anger, hate, misery, and stress. When you just accept people as they are, faults and all, they naturally want to be around you. And even weirder…they will work to improve and impress you. You also realize that most of what people say, is just a reflection of their own struggles, weaknesses, and insecurities.
Hope these help. Try them out. Let me know how it goes.