by Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler –
1. Relaxation – The more comfortable you are around others, the more comfortable they will feel around you. It a natural human response to pull away from someone who appears nervous or uneasy. The best way to immediately build communication rapport is to smile and relax your body (and especially your face). This may seem simple, but is very important. A genuine smile presents an open door to communication.
2. Power Listening – Effective communication is far more than just talking – the real key is effective listening. Power communicators focus on what the other person is saying, rather than worrying on how they will respond. If you have trouble communicating clearly with others, you may want to try the following communication power tool: Mirror their thoughts back to them, and ask them if you properly understood what they said. The simplest way to do thisis is to paraphrase what they just said to you, and ask them if you properly understood what they meant.
Another good power tool is this: As the other person speaks, pay close attention to their expressions and body language. Try to pick up the deeper emotions revealed by their speech patterns. This is the essence of one especially powerful personal empowerment tool known as NLP (neuro linguistic programming).
3. Provide Recognition – Words either strengthen or weaken trust. It is not always possible to consider the impact of your emotions and words before you speak. In a tough emotion-packed situation, sometimes the best response is to hold your response for a few seconds (or minutes, if possible).
One often overlooked, but extremely valuable power tool is the compliment.
4. Provide Support – The ultimate emotional support tool is “empathy.” Empathy is a foundation of power communication and simply involves seeing from another person’s perspective, regardless of your own opinion or belief. Is this easy? Nope! But genuine feelings of empathy cement strong bonds of trust. Let people know that you respect them as a person. Offer understanding and encouragement in times of difficulty, and you will build even stronger bonds of trust.
5. Be Authentic – Acting authentically with others basically involves acting with integrity. At its core, authenticity is simply acting in keeping with your own values. It means being truly honest with both yourself and others. In a power relationship authenticity is based on being yourself, and avoiding acts that create false appearances. You know how easy it is to spot someone that is putting on an act – we all have this intuitive capability. Being authentic creates deep levels of mutual trust and true respect.
6. Acknowledge Generously – Look for and acknowledge other people’s positive qualities. Appreciating their strengths and contributions builds strong bonds of trust. And remember to acknowledge your most important relationship – the relationship with yourself. Recognize your own qualities, and put them into action. You cannot form a strong relationship with others unless you have first done so with yourself! All relationships radiate out from our relationship to our self.
7. Take Action! – Build a power relationship with your own self and you will easily do so with others. Ask yourself: What thoughts and behaviors will attract the kind of relationships I desire? What one action can I take today to empower my current relationships?