Increase your senses, to increase your influence
Stories are an important way to get your message across, possibly one of the most important skills to communicate successfully. A good story teller always use their senses. How well do you manage honing in your senses, in order to improve your communication style? Did you know you could improve all of your senses with a bit of practice? Did you know that of all your senses, hearing is the one you can most improve?
I love observing different people when I travel. Did you know by observing the behaviour of others, you can create stronger relations, improve your listening and ultimately read people’s mind?
I’ve recently traveled to Sydney for business and have a habit of buying a new book at the airport. Whilst I was in the queue I noticed it was moving much slower than the one next to me. I’m sure you’ve been there! I observed the three people to my left being served, whilst I was not moving. I looked over to the 30 something year old Anglo-Saxon lady serving an Aboriginal lady at the front of my queue and they were in a casual conversation about family and reading habits, whilst processing everything a bit slower. The other saleslady was younger and serving the clients faster, yet barely interacting. I immediately changed my attitude from being slightly annoyed and thinking of skipping across queues, to being very impressed with the lady serving our queue as she obviously realised the need for the Aboriginal customer to be acknowledged and have a brief conversation to build trust.
Different people would have a completely different perspective to this scenario:
- One could be irritated as you need to get to you aeroplane and felt your time was being wasted
- The supervisor may have thought about the productivity of serving more clients in a shorter time
- The customer may judge the two people serving by age, gender sex etc.
- The customer who starts loudly complaining and sharing it with everyone around them to start a movement or simply want to be heard
- The client who are happy to start reading their book or looking around the room to entertain themselves whilst patiently waiting for the queue to continue moving
Which one are you? I know you already have a gut instinct of how you would react. There are a multitude of possible reactions. I thanked the sales lady for her attentive service attitude and left her with a beaming smile.
I always make an effort to speak to random strangers whilst away. I turn this into a game and challenge myself to speak to people I would not normally mix with. On this particular trip one of my highlights was when I approached a stranger on a park bench feeding the birds. I noticed him on my first day and decided to stop on the second for a good 20 minutes. Turns out his brother lives around the corner from me in Perth.
The third person I struck up a conversation with, that stood out was a transgender air hostess who turned out to be an absolute hoot.
My question to you is how often do you take yourself out of your comfort zone? How often do you speak to a stranger? How often do you people watch and analyse their behaviour?
Do you realise you can improve the way you read people by practicing this on a more regular basis? Sue you need some basic tips as in how to read certain behaviour, but with a little bit of practice you can improve your emotional intelligence as well as your cultural intelligence, simply by being more aware an practicing your observational powers.
Getting back to your senses. Sit back and listen – what can you hear? A clock ticking? Your own breathing? By regularly doing this, you can for example increase your hearing. Retrain your brain today!
I would like to challenge you to participate in a diversity project of some sorts in your workplace. Start observing people, find out more about the culture, what they eat and what they treasure. A colleague of mine runs an initiative called ‘A Taste of Harmony.’ Now in its eighth year, ‘A Taste of Harmony’ is all about celebrating cultural diversity in the workplace, through food. Click here register your workplace for free and build the diversity to grow your understanding of those you are surrounded by.
I’m just adding the final touches to my online course: ‘Build your People Skills to Grow your Influence.’ There are 100’s of slides, tip sheets and video’s to help you with this journey in your own time. If you would like to get this for free send an e-mail with ‘Free People Skills’ in subject line and write a few lines describing what people skills you would like to learn about and/or what you think it will enable you to do. Competition closes 12 March at 12:00 noon. First 3 random entries drawn will be announced.
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