If you want to increase your influence in your personal or professional life, pay careful attention to this content.
First, let me recommend Discover The Secret To Get Through To Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston, who talks about the power that listening has to influence others.
There are many reasons to connect with others, especially in business, and it’s not always easy for everyone. Until they are your customer, or even afterwards, some people take a little more effort to establish rapport.
Rapport is absolutely essential for creating a lasting relationship and building trust. Without that relationship of trust, an individual is not going to feel comfortable, and you can’t be confident that what you’re going to say is actually going to be heard.
Think of your own experiences with salespeople. If I just want to browse in a retail store, I get defensive at times with a salesperson who starts pumping me for information about what it is I’m looking for. Sometimes I want to say, I’ll know when I see it. Stupid but true.
Answering questions when I haven’t approached the salesperson myself uses a different part of my psyche and puts me on the defensive. The warnings go off in my head that say, ‘they’re going to try and sell you something’ and I won’t be able to relax and browse without being on guard.
Now, if the salesperson backs off after I say I’m just browsing, I’ll relax and will probably end up buying something because my experience has been pleasant.
Or recall a time you did not feel as if you were being listened to by someone. Maybe they finished your sentences or offered advice or an opinion without you having asked for them. That’s one way to undermine rapport and kill it before it can grow. People need a safety zone for them to spend time in conversation with you. As a businessperson creating that zone is a great opportunity for a lasting relationship.
To do that you must establish that you respect them and want to serve them and provide them support. Part of this is being willing to figuratively sit down and be present and listen to them express what it is they are looking for. You need to receive the message. You also need to appreciate what is being spoken. As you are expressing your appreciation. An example would be to say, “I really appreciate you sharing that with me,” or, “Thank you so much for giving me that bit of information because that helps me better understand where you are coming from.”
Even if you just use those two phrases, you’re going to radically alter your experience in that conversation. The person is going to feel like they have been heard, and they may be more receptive to what you have to offer them.
We haven’t really taken a deep dive into “how” yet, but if we look at the “what” of listening, this is an important point. What is listening? Listening is not only something that you do. It has a lot to do with who you are as a person. I’m thinking about the process of rapport. Rapport has a short-term technique that can be used, but for long-term rapport, it has a lot to do with your character.
People sense whether someone is sincere about helping them reach their goals, getting to know them better, and establishing a long-term business relationship rather than just making a sale.