Good job, Class! Your many comments about listening and being obviously engaged with the other person are EXCELLENT POINTS! So let’s talk about the use of cell phones. The appropriate use of cell phones and other electronic devices is extremely important in business settings (and everywhere else) today. Please note that it is very discourteous to monitor your phone, email and text messages, or to take calls in the middle of a conversation with others — unless it is an emergency situation — and that includes checking out groceries with your cashier.
Think about the messages being sent: “You are not important enough to receive my full attention.” “I don’t care about you or our relationship enough to give you my full attention.” “Somebody else, somewhere else, is more important at this moment than you are.” “I’m ignorant and don’t know enough to turn my cell phone off or to pay attention to business.” “I can’t focus.” “I’m rude.” “I don’t care about you or what you have to say.” “Your time is not important to me.” “Your attention can wait.” “Your message is not important enough to receive my full attention.” And the list goes on. Please remember to use good form in all situations — the perception of others is their reality.
OK, it looks like we have a pretty good idea of what it takes to build rapport:
Greet a person pleasantly.
Search for common ground.
Give positive feedback.
Make eye contact.
Nod your head in understanding.
Use some form of “yes” while they’re talking.
Enunciate clearly with a pleasant voice.
Avoid sensitive topics.
Compliment the person.
Ignore electronic devices.
Verify that you have cadre status if that is important.
Now, let’s see if you can practice this in real life. Select one person, preferably at work, with whom you have not interacted and establish rapport within the next week. Report back to us very briefly about your experience. ~Dr. T