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The 14th method is build rapport, relationship, and trust. Think of it this way, you do extra things willingly for people with whom you have a level of rapport and trust. You might help a close friend or family member move their things on a weekend, but you wouldn't give up your weekend for just anyone. If you earn more rapport and trust and strengthen relationships with people, they'll be more willing to hear you out and consider supporting your influence objectives. Here's how to do it. First be a great listener. Pay them the respect of paying attention and let them know you understand them.
For example, waiters who repeat orders back to customers instead of saying merely okay, get more tips, up to 70% more in some studies. Second, build rapport proactively. Make an extra effort to learn about the people you're dealing with. There was a revealing study on pairs of MBA students doing negotiations remotely by sending messages back and forth, not in person and not using video. 29% of the pairs which did not exchange personal information or do some rapport building had an impasse and couldn't reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
But, when pairs were given a picture of their counterpart, along with some biographical information, and were instructed to spend some time getting to know one another through email before they negotiated, only 6% of those pairs found themselves at an impasse. Only 6%, compared to almost one third of the other groups that left significant value behind in their deal. Third, ask the people involved in your conversations, meetings, projects, what would make it a great outcome for them. Ask them directly.
What would be the best use of your time in our conversation today? Or, in this meeting, or project, initiative, presentation and so forth. If this meeting were to go as well as possible, what would be the best outcome for you? Fourth, state your positive intent up front. Do this before miscommunications and misattributions get started. Say at the beginning, even for a difficult conversation. Well, we have some challenging issues to discuss today, and I want to be clear about the positive purpose I have in mind.
And then tell them what it is. Even better, if you can connect your positive intent to shared values, principles, or broader goals. Fifth, credit them explicitly for their positive intent. This is very helpful to remember whenever you find yourself getting upset with your counterpart. Before going further, to protect the trust and rapport you have and to keep from damaging the relationship, say something like this, I think I'm understanding the positive intent you have in bringing this up. Then, fill in the blank and ask a quick clarification question.
Is that right? Even if you're wrong about their intent, it's okay, because then they'll be inclined to state what their positive intent actually is. And you can connect on that level, instead of smashing into an unnecessary impasse like the MBA students in the negotiation study who were trust blind with each other. You never go wrong by telling them their intentions are good. And, whatever your persuasive priorities are, you also never go wrong by building more rapport, relationships and trust with other influencers.
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