In a business environment where good relationships are vital, it seems at odds that we have inadvertently chosen to focus our attention elsewhere. So what can be done to improve and build lasting relationships? Story by Michelle Bowden.
When dealing with an introvert, ‘cut to the chase’, reduce the small talk, give them time to process their thoughts and don’t talk over the top of their thinking!
Many of us live busy, stressful and complicated lives. We seem to have so much to do and achieve in so little time. Personal relationships that used to be rich and involve lots of interpersonal interaction, support and physical contact seem to have dwindled, leaving less fulfilling, often-empty relationship spaces. One result of this climate of distant relationships is the emergence in the corporate world of issues relating to bullying and engagement.
Better relationships means better productivity
For most of us, fulfilling relationships are still so important to our quality of life. When we’re happy in our relationships, we often feel energised and productive at work. Conversely, trouble in our relationships can make focusing on the tasks at hand, creating strong organisational results, and working harmoniously with others a constant challenge.
So how do you improve your relationships at work? The answer is simple. Your personal relationships are only going to improve when you understand yourself and others better. Wouldn’t it be great if it was really easy to ‘get under the skin’ of the people with whom we live and work? But as you know, interpersonal relationships are multi-dimensional and complex.
As an advanced presentation, influencing and communication skills trainer for the past 15 years, and more recently a conference presenter in the area of personality at work, I have met thousands of people from all walks of life. During this time I have become passionate about personality and the links to workplace results. I frequently ask conference delegates the following questions:
- “Are there employees in your workplace that you find desperately infuriating?”
- Have you ever wondered why you get on really well with some people and not at all with others?
- Do you ever feel like most of the people around you are totally dysfunctional and you are the only normal one?
- Would you like to get the best out of yourself and others and still enjoy positive relationships?
The answer is always a resounding YES! Most people want to be able to better understand people and think on their feet when dealing with them. In Real Estate, many people have completed some sort of profiling tool, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicators (MBTI) or DiSC. Profiling exercises such as these tend to highlight just how different people are.
Opening our eyes and minds
One way of explaining these differences is with the Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) meta-programs. Meta-programs are the personality filters through which we see the world. These filters put labels on our differences and help us to understand why people act the way they do.
Every experience, situation or conversation is taken in through these filters, which give us remarkable insight into why we do what we do. They explain why we continue to behave as we do when we know our patterns of behaviour limit us or make us unhappy. They explain why it is that some people are able to outclass others at certain tasks; why it is that you like the people you like and dislike the people you dislike; and why people drive you crazy at times.
There are over 70 different filters that explain how we process information; how we interact with others; what motivates us; how we recharge our energy; how we operate in teams and much more. In my experience, the filters are a collection of the existing profiling tools in one comprehensive model.
When we work out our own filters, it enables us to have self-respect and self-confidence. This enhanced self-acceptance empowers us to make necessary changes to the way we approach people and tasks. It gives us a greater ability to devise strategies for dealing with difficult or frustrating people and situations, and allows us to communicate with others more effectively. Through an understanding of these filters, you can become more tolerant of others, get more of what you want in life, and build deep rapport with more of the people with whom you come into contact.
‘Switched-on’ sales people have an opportunity to interpret the clues that people provide about their filters or preferences. They can then match their communication style to the person so they are in strong rapport and achieve more sales.
Here are some examples:
This is the filter that determines from where you get your energy. When dealing with an introvert, ‘cut to the chase’, reduce the small talk, give them time to process their thoughts and don’t talk over the top of their thinking! If the customer or employee is an extrovert allocate more time for them to talk about whatever they want and manage them by gently moving them back to the topic.
Internal/external frame of reference
This is the filter related to your locus of judgement. If your customer or employee has an internal frame of reference it means they have an internal barometer that tells them what is right, and they have a strong need to reach their own conclusions. Don’t sell too hard to this type of person. Instead, provide information to help them make up their own mind. Don’t push them; instead ask them what they think. If they have an external frame of reference this means they have no internal barometer that tells them what’s right so you need to help them come to a decision by building credibility with testimonials and product reviews.
This filter determines how we process and compare new data. If your customer has a matching preference they tend to be easier to sell and convince or influence because they more naturally want to agree that it’s good to do business with you. If your customer/employee has a mismatcher preference then it’s more important to be clever with your language patterns so they can’t disagree with your point of view.
This filter explains how you prefer to think about information. If your customer or employee has a specific preference, they need a detailed presentation with facts, figures, details, charts and statistics in order to make a decision. If your customer has a global preference, they need shorter, more conceptual presentations and pitches.
Interesting isn’t it?! This is just a summary of four out of 70 different filters. The key to having fulfilling and productive relationships is being able to build rapport and connect with others. You’ll be better placed to do this if you use the personality filters to achieve a deep understanding of yourself and others.
So, enjoy getting to know the people around you. Celebrate your sameness and difference, and achieve the most from your relationships. You don’t have to change the world with your actions, just take personal responsibility for the decisions you make and they way you choose to treat the people around you every day. If we all did that it would be a better world. The people around you aren’t dysfunctional, just different to you!
Happy presenting! If you’re anxious or unsure about your ability to present and influence, visit www.michellebowden.com.au.