August 2, 2011
Luckily, there are five simple, yet powerful ways to improve rapport with others.
1. LISTEN TWICE AS MUCH AS YOU SPEAK. Train yourself to speak no more than three sentences in a row without pausing to let others respond.
2. TAKE FIVE. After the other person stops speaking count to five before you say a word. This has three benefits. First: you give your brain a few moments to absorb what was said and formulate an intelligent reply. Second, you show the other person that what was said was worthy of consideration. Third, you avoid interrupting the other person who may have paused only to gather his thoughts.
3. USE CLARIFIERS. Always ask at least one clarifying question before responding with your point of view. Some good clarifiers are: “How so?” or “Can you elaborate?”. This gives the other person the opportunity to say exactly what they mean. They will appreciate the courtesy.
4. PARAPHRASE. When the other person has finished speaking, tell them what you think you heard. They will be flattered that you gave them your undivided attention.
5. DON’T JUDGE or give advice unless specifically asked. Show your empathy by murmuring phrases such as: “I understand” or “If I were you I would feel exactly the same way.”