How do you make people love you — and love working with you? By building relationships. Here are a few strategies to help you thrive.
What if you could get any job you wanted, be the first person in your company to get promoted and make everyone crave to work with you?
Top performers know that if they lost their job on Friday, they could make a few phone calls, send a few emails and have a job offer by Monday. –Ramit Sethi
Because they build relationships and grow their networks by engaging with people.
It’s no surprise that Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Becoming a Picasso in the art of connecting with your fellow human beings is the golden ticket for the fast track to success. (Click here to Tweet this idea.)
These five techniques will help you thrive in any social situation and make people love being around you:
1. The buddy system
From the Marines to the elementary school classroom, the buddy system means when you go to the toilet, someone goes with you. Don’t do that at work, but the principle still applies.
Find someone in your company you want to build a relationship with, and pick one activity to do with them. While you’re both engaged in the activity, ask them questions that allow you to gain a deeper understanding of their thoughts about the company, your team, the new project — anything. Ask them open-ended questions such as, “What do you think about the project?” or “How do you think we can make improvements in this proposal?”
Most people are rarely given the opportunity to be heard on a deeper level and will appreciate you for doing so.
2. Waking up the elephant in the room
If you know something might be a potential obstacle or objection for someone, mention it up front. Get it out of the way, because everyone knows it’s there anyway.
Let’s say you just got out of college and still look like you’re 15 years old. The next time you speak to a group of salty old veterans in your company, open by acknowledging you look young enough to be their grandchild. Then explain why it’s not going to a problem and keep moving on with the conversation.
They’ll respect your candor and become more engaged in hearing what you have to say.
3. The copycat
Remember that annoying game kids play where they copy everything you do? Do that. Well, with a little more subtlety.
Copying someone’s behavior, language, tonality, even their emotions will improve your relationship with them faster than buying them an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas.
We have what neuroscientists call mirror neurons. Watching someone else leap off a cliff activates the same parts of your brain as if you took the leap yourself. This applies to emotions as well.
If your boss talks fast, you talk fast. If he crosses one leg over the other, you do the same. If he expresses joy, plaster a monster-sized grin onto your face. He’ll connect with you on a subconscious level, without knowing why he’s taken to you.
4. The transference technique
What do you do with employees who aren’t putting in their share of the workload?
Most bosses confront them, which only puts them on the defensive and sends them away upset. Want it to go differently?
Before you meet with the employee, find three reasons why they might be upset with you. Dig deep if you must.
Start the conversation by taking responsibility for the way things have gone. Confirm if that’s what’s bothering them or if it’s something else. Then apologize and promise to work on improving things on your end. They won’t expect this. Shifting the blame onto yourself will drop their guard.
To create long-lasting relationships, act in the manner you want the other person to behave, and you’ll transfer that emotion or behavior onto them.
5. The sentence finisher
You’re reading this post because you want to learn how to…
See what happened there? You felt compelled to finish the statement, right?
Sometimes questions can come off as probing or forceful, or they may make a person feel like they’re on the spot. A softer approach is to lead with a statement and invite the other person to finish it.
In a meeting with a boss, you could say something like, “To make this new project a success, you want…” Use a hand gesture to let them know they need to finish the sentence or just pause and wait for them to do so.
They’ll appreciate you for giving them the opportunity to express themselves.
What are some strategies you’ve used to become a master at cultivating relationships?
Akshay Nanavati is Marine Corps veteran turned productivity and business consultant. Check out his site to learn more about how to use neuroscience and psychology to live the millionaire lifestyle.