Are you one of those people who find social situations difficult and are secretly jealous of those who can just fit into any situation and get along with others easily and effortlessly? You envy those social butterflies who can flit from person to person, smiling and relaxed, seemingly without a care in the world. Getting along with people is a skill that some of us miss out on in early life and we forget that this can still be developed later on in our lives. Being confident around people is not easy, in the respect that every situation is different and people bring complexity to this, regardless whether we know them or not.
Added to all this, the pressures of the work, customers, suppliers and bosses will make getting along with anyone difficult to say the least! In my work, many senior leaders ask me for a quick guide to help them to get along with people in general as well as specific advice for difficult situations.
So here is my essential communication guide for getting along with people:
Your goal is to reduce differences and increase the number of things we share in common.
Here is a truth: “United we stand, divided we fall.”
It is harder to get things done with people who we do not get along with. If we don’t like someone, we create physical and mental distance between us. This in turn tells others what we are thinking of them. There are cultural and social norms regarding personal space, depending upon where you are in the world, however that’s for another time!
Getting things done depends upon the things we share in common with one another. Conflict arises with people who have no common ground between them. Show empathy with the other person. Speak their reality with regards to the situation. Put yourself in their place: What would they be feeling? What would they think?
Pay close attention to:
Body posture, Gestures, Facial expressions, Pace and volume of the voice
By matching these key indicators, you will build rapport quickly and easily.
A word of caution:
Copying someone can be seen as mocking them! Be careful and respectful when matching someone in this way. Be genuine in your behaviours. If you want to pace someone’s gestures, wait a little while first before using the same gesture.
Remember: Your goal is to reduce distance and difference in your communication
Speak Your Intent
The intent behind your communication is the most important part of your communication, yet this is the very thing we forget to mention before approaching a potential conflict situation. Step into the person’ reality first before speaking your intent, you will build powerful rapport this way. An example would be:
” I know you are busy boss and I really want to understand what I need to do here to be as effective as possible with my team.”
Communicate your intent right up front and we tell people that we are on their side before any other interpretation of our actions can be made. In this way, you will reduce conflict and the amount of fireworks going off at work through misunderstandings. There is so much more, however if everyone did just these things, imagine how much more we can achieve!
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