Creating Rapport

Creating a rapport with others is not only a human need but also crucial for the success of any endeavor, because we exist in an interconnected web of life. When people feel connected with each other, they are more likely to work enthusiastically and cohesively, building on each other’s strengths.

In fact, research indicates that 70% of workplace learning is informal, meaning that when people are talking to each other at work, they are actually learning to do their jobs better.
Friendlier workers are more effective communicators, more productive and trusted. However, our different backgrounds, values, and prejudices often get in the way of building rapport.

So how do we bridge this gap?

Here are 8 ways:

1. Smile your way in – A smile is the easiest way to establish rapport. It instantly lowers defenses on both sides. In short, the other can’t help but smile back. Research shows that when you smile you’re viewed as attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere. In addition, a study from Neuropsychologia journal reported that seeing a smiling face activates the region in your brain that processes sensory rewards, meaning that when you see a person smiling, you actually feel rewarded.

2. Repeat their Name – Everyone likes the sound of their name. Make it a point to use the name of the person you are talking to. Avoid pronouncing their name incorrectly.

3. Pay complete Attention – Be alert to both verbal and non-verbal cues. Often we are so busy noting the words that we miss the tone or body language. Use all your five senses to glean insight. Ask open-ended questions and encourage people to express themselves freely. This will make them feel valued.

4. Compliment often – We all seek appreciation from our fellow humans. Irrespective of our apparent differences there is always something which can be admired in others.

5. Use the ‘Sandwich technique’ to give critical or unfavorable feedback – Whenever there is a legitimate need to criticize or bring to light something you are not comfortable with, first pay a genuine compliment. Then explain what’s bothering you, with relevant facts. Finally, end with a possible solution. In this way, you do not attack the person, but rather define the problem and encourage resolution.

6. Find Common Ground – People like people who are similar to them. Often finding a common area of interest like sports/hobbies/education or admiring something you like in the other can serve as a good start for conversation and camaraderie.

7. Empathize – Putting yourself in somebody else’s shoes is the best way to grasp their perspective. This understanding can help you to not only create better rapport but also frame the best possible response for a given situation.

8. Be Authentic – When your actions are consistent with your values and principles you inspire trust and admiration in others, even if they do not agree with you. Trust is the fundamental building block of rapport building and it plays a key role in establishing a healthy long-term relationship.

Creating Zest

Zest creates joy; it gives you the ability to appreciate life even when there are ups and downs; the drive to face challenges in a positive manner.

Zest is fueled by what excites you, makes you enthusiastic and passionate. If you know what this is, do more of it.

When you are living and working with passion, it is contagious and it inspires others. Work and life are then less stressful.

Finding things that make you feel excited about life help to increase your zest – but doing the right thing does too. How you build your relationships with loved ones can have an impact on how zestful you feel. If you have loving and jovial relationships, you enhance your energy.

People who practice zest embrace life as an adventure and push the envelope. They see possibility where others only see problems. They do big things and bring other people along on their journey.

Create zest in your life and experience a life of unbridled energy and enthusiasm!

Meditation & Work

Meditation at work seems like an anomaly. But the busier we are the more there is the need to be meditative. Companies the world over are now recognizing its effect on employee well-being and productivity. For instance, Google, Twitter and Facebook regularly hold in-office meditation sessions to enhance mindfulness.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that meditation can revamp brain circuitry and change the way we perceive stress and deal with it. People who regularly meditate have better focus, are more creative, are less prone to anxiety and have a heightened sense of self-awareness. Plus, meditation is also known to slow down the aging process and enhance immune function.

One paper cited by Google even implies that meditators are more resistant to the flu.
Other than incorporating meditation as part of your daily routine, there are several mind-body techniques which you can practice during your work hours to center yourself in the midst of a busy day. This will help you feel calmer and more empowered to deal with any situation.

So select one or all of the following depending on what suits you best.

➢ Root yourself – Imagine yourself as a giant oak tree, with your torso embodying the trunk and your feet the roots.

➢ Create your own special mantra of life affirmations. Maybe it’s your favorite prayer or mantra or even a compliment given by someone. Use the phrase that you feel instantly connected to and uplifted by. Repeat it at least 5-6 times every day.

➢ Take a Zen walk – Anything done with conscious awareness can become a meditation. Walking is one of the simplest ways to center yourself, and the best part is you can do this anywhere. Start by walking slowly. Feel each step. Imagine that your feet are talking to the ground.

Finally, remember that learning how to center yourself is different from actually feeling centered. Just as you can’t learn to swim by reading about it, you cannot experience the benefits of being centered until you practice the techniques.

Do What You Love

Finding your life’s purpose will be one of the most important decisions you will make. Once you have found your sweet spot, your holy grail, the next step is to build your life around it because there is a gap between imagining something and making it a reality. What we do to bridge this gap ultimately decides the quality of our reality.

Here are a few tips to make the journey easier:

➢ Articulate your life’s purpose in great detail – We can create all that we can conceive. Writing down your dream helps to crystallize your goals and concentrate your attention. For example, if you want to become a singer, then articulate it in complete details right down to the kind of music you want to associate with, artists you want to work with, the kind of styles you want to experiment with, your lifestyle etc.

➢ Inculcate self-discipline – There will be times when the road ahead will seem difficult and you will be plagued by self-doubt. In times like these, it is easy to give up on your dream. Moreover, when you are working on your dream, the locus of control shifts from the outside world to your inner being, often leading you to slow down on tasks. Disciplining yourself to keep up a daily schedule and consistently following through on all activities will help you remain on track.

➢ Don’t expect immediate results – The starting phase requires your undivided attention. This is the time when you get to work at your craft and hone it to precision. Learn to treat every challenge as a learning opportunity. Do not undervalue this experience as these obstacles carry within them the potential for great self-growth and transformation.

➢ Be resilient if things do not go as expected – Planning for every eventuality is a good beginning, but not a guarantee against perceived failure. Remember, you have the inherent strength to rise up after every fall and learn from each one.

➢ Work hard – The axiom ‘Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life’ does not mean that you will not have to work hard. It means that work might not seem like work at all since you would be enjoying what you do. However, the fact is that every job will contain certain aspects, which you might not enjoy, but which will need to be done.

➢ Keep a backup plan ready – Besides your own role, there are other aspects, which affect the success of your endeavors. Most ideas require a certain running time before they take off. So it’s essential to plan for the long haul, especially if you are supporting a family and need to pay bills. You will need the support of your loved ones.

➢ Break it down – At times the scale of our dream might seem daunting. Often, in the beginning, you might not know how to start. The way forward here is to break up every big plan into smaller tasks based on relevance and immediacy.

Joy at Work!

Our work is an integral part of who we are, and if we are not able to feel joyous when we are at work we are probably falling short of living our true potential.

Not only is joy our very state of being, but it is also a touchstone of all that is going well in our lives.

So let’s explore some methods that can help put the zing back into work.

➢ Define your mission – The articulation of who we are, what we want in life, and how we want to lead our lives can spell the difference between dragging yourself to work every day and choosing a workplace that helps you crystallize your vision.

➢ First things first – Before you go to sleep at night, write down three priorities you would like to accomplish the next day. If you complete these three priorities the next day you will feel terrific. So try your best to do them as early as possible.

➢ Widen your circle – We spend 70% of our waking time at our workplace, so it’s only natural that we want to spend it with people we enjoy being with. However, you also need to create meaningful relationships with other people. So go ahead and widen your circle.

➢ Treat every problem as an opportunity –  Every challenge or problem carries within itself the opportunity for growth. What is needed is an open mind and self-awareness. Once you decide to view every challenge as an opportunity, life begins to unfold in amazing ways.

➢ Help someone – The fastest way to get out of misery is to help someone. To start with, it immediately diverts attention from your own misery. Second, it enriches you by adding value to your life. Third, the other’s relief and happiness are infectious.

➢ Create your own special ‘Joy Ritual’ – Whether it’s having that peppermint tea at four in the afternoon, or going out for a walk, create your own special moments to savor.

➢ Be in the moment – The past is no more, and the future is not yet here. All that we have is the present, and the present is loaded with opportunity.

Big Picture First!

There are two ways to approach something important. Either start with a lot of details and get everyone overwhelmed or agree on the big picture first and let details be worked out later.

I have found in many business deals, when we focus on agreeing on the big picture, the rest becomes easier as you narrow down on the key areas of contention.

When you start with details you can end up all over the map that by the time you come to the crux you are exhausted.

Start of the Day

When you do something very valuable first thing in the morning you set the tone for the day.

I had a great coaching call with a client first thing in the morning today that set the tone for the day. By the time the day was finished, I had several valuable client interactions, good family interactions, excellent voluntary work, and effective staff meeting.

It all began with the first call in the morning. Choose what you do first in the morning carefully as it sets the rest of the day in motion.