This book is unique because it contains a very actionable process for how to treat individuals exactly how we all wish we were treated every minute of every day of our lives.
Regardless of your individual goals, the key is to make it “all about them.”
I will bet that if the conversation was enjoyable to you, whether you were speaking to a friend or stranger, at least one of the ten elements was present. A conversation that has two to four of the elements will be one you will remember for a very long time. A conversation that has nine to ten of the elements will be remembered for a lifetime.
The discomfort was induced because you didn’t know when or if it would end. For this reason, the first step in the process of developing great rapport and having great conversations is letting the other person know that there is an end in sight, and it is really close.
This is a strong reason why these techniques work; they are specifically designed to lower the perceived risk to a stranger.
As I was asking my question and establishing my stated artificial time constraints, “I’m about to leave,” I noted the man assessing the situation for threat.
All of my surroundings were congruent with the words being spoken.
It is very important to remember that not one technique can guarantee success. Even perfect execution of all techniques cannot guarantee success. The proper execution of as many techniques as possible will greatly enhance your probability of success and ensure you will have better conversations and more meaningful rapport than you would have otherwise.
This chapter will explore how to “look” like a nonthreatening nice person to converse with.
Smiling is the number one nonverbal technique you should utilize to look more accommodating.
Adding a slight head tilt shows the other person that you have comfort with them and trust them. Another nonverbal to try and maintain is a slightly lower chin angle.
When two people stand toe to toe, it can be very intimidating, especially if they are strangers. A slight body angle or blade away from the individual you are engaging will present a much more accommodating nonverbal.
The main objective in all engagements is simple; the person you are engaging must leave the conversation and interaction feeling better for having met you.
“Hi, my friend and I have to leave in a second, and I am very sorry to bother you, but I was hoping you could help me.”
The final accommodating nonverbal that is easy to incorporate into your behavior is the handshake. An accommodating handshake is one that matches the strength of the other, and also takes more of a palm up angle.
When individuals speak slowly and clearly, they tend to sound more credible than those who speak quickly.
Whenever I have a conversation that I believe is important for me to be credible in my content, I purposely slow down the delivery and take pauses for people to absorb the content of what I have just said.
I have personally found that there is no greater theme and tool for eliciting individuals for action, information, and a great conversation than the use of sympathy or assistance.
When the request is simple, of limited duration, and non-threatening, we are more inclined to accommodate the request.
However, when I have mentioned that I want to do something very special for my wife, it demonstrates that not only am I married but that I think a great deal about her and our relationship. This technique and theme typically leave no doubt in the mind of the individual with whom you are speaking that you do not have romantic intentions.
As I mentioned earlier in the book, a third-party reference is a topic used to initiate that isn’t too personal about the individual targeted for the discussion. The topic also is not about you.
I had to desensitize her toward our presence and demonstrated that we were not overly interested in her, but the third-party reference, cinnamon buns.
“Great conversationalists have patience and wait for the right opportunity to capitalize on opportunities that are natural and not ones that are forced.”
The young woman looked as though she was willing to have a much greater conversation, but I decided to let her desire for a chat build a little more so that I could clearly establish that I didn’t have any romantic interests or ulterior motives.
“I’m very sorry to bother you. My friend and I have to leave in a second to go to work. He claims to be a great gift idea guy but he is failing miserably.”
Suspending an individual’s ego is probably the most challenging, as well as effective techniques out of all ten that we will cover together.
He clearly was anticipating a confrontation and what he got was someone who was agreeing with him… “ego suspension.”
Suspending your ego is nothing more complex than putting other individuals’ wants, needs, and perceptions of reality ahead of your own.
Individuals practicing good ego suspension would continue to encourage the other individual to talk about his or her story, neglecting their own need to share what they think is a great story.
The simplest validation that can be given to another individual is simply listening.
True validation coupled with ego suspension means that you have no story to offer, that you are there simply to hear theirs.
A great conversationalist and rapport builder will put the entire focus on the other individual. When we aren’t anxious to tell our own story, we also tend to listen and hear better.
Thoughtfulness is probably the most commonly used of the validation techniques but in a limited manner.
Demonstrate thoughtfulness in your actions and, more important, your words to every individual in your life, and I predict those relationships will greatly be enhanced.
Validating the thoughts and opinions of others is very powerful but can also be very difficult because of our innate need to correct others and the difficulty we have suppressing our own egos.
I have found one of the most effective methods for getting individuals to do what I want them to do is to have them come up with my idea then I validate their idea.
Empower those around you with choices, albeit choices that you have offered, but in the end, the decision is theirs.
A key step to strengthening the emotional connection in any relationship is to anchor or solidify the relationship with “how, when, and why” questions.
One of the key concepts that every great interviewer or conversationalist knows is to ask open ended questions.
It is very important to listen to the content that the other individual supplies and thread from that content using open ended questions.
This type of open ended anchoring question will test the new relationship dialogue and give you a quick idea about how far and deep you can venture in these quick conversations. If the answer is quick and short, do not pursue it any longer; if it tends to be a bit longer, you have something to work with.
The first is the use of minimal encouragers. These are simple head nods or verbal confirmations that you are paying attention and listening, such as “uh huh,” “yes,” “I understand,” etc.
The second technique is another form of questioning but without having to think of a question or a way to get the person to tell you more; it is reflective questioning. These are really fun, but take some
By restating what he just said but as a question, the individual becomes compelled to elaborate more.
Emotional labeling is the next technique.
generally don’t use this technique unless I see individuals who appear to have had a rough day. It is useful because I have found that the general third-party reference and other techniques are not as effective when individuals feel distraught or just in an overall bad mood.
Remember, if you don’t try to interject your content, people generally won’t ask. Most people would rather tell their own stories rather than listen to yours.
Paraphrasing is the next technique that demonstrates to the other person that you are paying attention.
People have gotten so used to people not giving them their full attention that when you do, it is the most wonderful and cheapest gift and rapport builder on earth. Paraphrasing can be both an excellent tool at establishing that you are listening, and it also can serve as a reflective type of questioning but on a much broader scale.
Interlaced with all these techniques is the placement of pauses. Creating a pause in a conversation can serve two purposes. The first is to create a break in the dialogue so you can think about what you want to say next, rather than continue to go on without thought. The second purpose is to create that slightly awkward silence that hopefully the other person will fill with his or her own content. Once he or she provides more content, you will have more items to ask, “How? When? and Why?” about.
Similar to the other techniques, the summary serves a few purposes. First, it will act like paraphrasing in that it will demonstrate to the other person that you were listening. Second, like paraphrasing, the summary will help you remember the content of the conversation for future conversations. Finally, the summary is great if there were any favors asked or commitments made. The summary eliminates any confusion on these points if they were not clear during the original discussion.
Quid pro quo refers to the art of giving a little information about yourself to get a little from others. Out of all of the techniques, this one is the most subtle and if all of the others techniques are working effectively, might not be used at all.
The first and more common of the instances is when you attempt to converse with someone who is either very introverted, guarded, or both. The second instance is when the person you are conversing with suddenly becomes very aware about how much they have been speaking, and they suddenly feel awkward.
Remember, my intent is never to overwhelm but to slowly build trust through non-threatening dialogue.
The success of this engagement was not because of one technique alone, but because I remained flexible, used multiple techniques, and recognized early on that I was speaking with someone who was introverted, guarded, and definitely busy. Realizing these issues early helped me to use patience as well as quid pro quo to make her feel more comfortable with a dialogue. The key is not to speak about you too much. Remember, it is all about them, not you.
In general, if you have been letting someone speak about themselves and it is going pretty good for about 15 minutes, think about interjecting one or two small quick lines about yourself. Keep this quick and light so that you don’t shift the focus from them to you. The whole purpose here is to show that you are similar in your likes and interests and also make them feel as though they are not the only one speaking.
When you do find yourself in the type of situation where you are going to use the technique, ensure that you use it sparingly and only as much as needed and no more because the focus always must remain on the individual you are targeting and not yourself.
When giving the gift of “focus” the individual receiving the gift may or may not be conscious of the gift they are receiving. Regardless, the desire to reciprocate remains strong.
Material gifts are similar to the gift of focus, but the individual generally knows he or she is receiving a gift because of the tangible nature of the gift. Although, the type of gift given may not immediately trigger recognition of a gift, the result of their need to reciprocate will be the same.
You would be amazed at how friendly and helpful people become when you offer them a small gift or token. The best time to give the gift is before they offer you one. Preemptive gift giving is great at facilitating future engagements.
The key to the success of the last story was that I started the gift giving, and did so without any expectation of reciprocity. When individuals give gifts or do kind deeds with an agenda at the forefront of their mind, it demeans the value of the gift, and has the appearance of insincerity. The key to being a successful gift giver is to manage your expectations and keep the focus on them.
have described to you in this book. Managing my expectations ensured that I sounded and looked confident and calm while performing a very stressful task. This technique is important and crucial because all of the techniques before this one require you to not seem like a seedy used car salesman when having a conversation. If you can manage your expectations before an encounter and ensure the conversation is for their benefit and not yours, you will greatly enhance your chances for success.
The surest way however of not being disappointed is to ensure that we manage our expectations before ever commencing an engagement. Along with managing our expectations, we need to keep the focus on the needs and the perception of the other person, because it really is not all about me.
Putting it all together: Let’s go through the ten techniques to refresh our memories. This is also a good page to mark so that you can refer to it quickly before any encounter to sharpen your focus. 1. Establishing artificial time constraints: Allow the person being targeted to feel that there is an end in sight. 2. Accommodating nonverbals: Ensure that both your body language as well as your voice is non-threatening. 3. Slower rate of speech: Don’t oversell and talk too fast. You lose credibility quickly and come on too strong and threatening. 4. Sympathy or assistance theme: Human beings are genetically coded to provide assistance and help. It also appeals to their ego that they may know more than you. 5. Ego suspension: Most likely the hardest technique but without a doubt the most effective. Don’t build yourself up, build someone else up and you will have strong rapport. 6. Validate others: Human beings crave being connected and accepted. Validation feeds this need and few give it. Be the great validator and have instant, great rapport. 7. Ask… How? When? Why? : When you want to dig deep and make a connection, there is no better or safer way than asking these questions. They will tell you what they are willing to talk about. 8. Connect with quid pro quo: Some people are just more guarded than others. Allow them to feel comfortable by giving a little about you. Don’t overdo it. 9. Gift giving (reciprocal altruism): Human beings are genetically coded to reciprocate gifts given. Give a gift, either intangible or material, and seek a conversation and rapport in return. 10. Managing expectations: Avoid both disappointment as well as the look of a bad salesman by ensuring that your methods are focused on benefitting the targeted individual and not you. Ultimately you will win, but your mindset needs to focus on them.
Step 1: Ensure you are utilizing accommodating nonverbals. Step 2: Identify an individual and your third party reference. Step 3: When you have identified both the individual and the third party reference, ask the individual’s thought or opinion of the third party reference.
Step 1: Ensure you are utilizing accommodating nonverbals. Step 2: Identify an individual and your third party reference. Step 3: When you have identified both the individual and the third party reference, ask the individual’s thought or opinion of the third party reference. Step 4: Establish an artificial time constraint.
Step 1: Ensure you are utilizing accommodating nonverbals. Step 2: Choose an appropriate theme that fits you, your personality, and something that you will use on other exercises that you can build upon. Step 3: Add an artificial time constraint. Step 4: Add a slower rate of speech. Simply ensure that you are speaking a little slower and making eye contact.
Step 1: Ensure you are utilizing accommodating nonverbals. Step 2: Choose an appropriate theme that fits you, your personality, and something that you will use on other exercises that you can build upon. Step 3: Add an artificial time constraint. Step 4: Add a slower rate of speech. Step 5: Add a Sympathy or Assistance Theme. During the initial engagement and third party reference question, modify the question to include sympathy or assistance.
Challenge 1: This exercise differs slightly than the others because it is an infusion of the skill throughout not just your exercises but every minute of your daily life. Step 1: Approach someone that you already know. A greater challenge would be to approach a stranger. Step 2: Identify a topic that you and a friend disagree upon. This can range from politics to child rearing, to Apple vs. Windows operating systems. Step 3: Ask what the individual thinks about the topic, knowing it is different than yours. Then, do not correct them. Step 4: Encourage them to elaborate and explain their reasoning. Nod your head and acknowledge that those are interesting points.
Step 1: You have to be very patient to wait for a situation where you are challenged on your thoughts or opinions. Step 2: Let the other person know that they are correct, and not argue with them. The easiest example I have is my road rage situation described earlier. I thought I was correct, or at least had an explanation for my actions. It is very difficult to suspend your ego and not correct someone. Step 3: You cannot provide an explanation or justification for your actions. People truly do not care, they just want to hear you admit they were right and you were wrong. Step 4: Each of our days has a few occasions where this happens. The next time you think you are right, suspend your ego and don’t have the need to correct others.