**Warning — the content in this post is so effective that I encourage you to think carefully how it is used. I do not endorse or condone the use of these skills in malicious or deceptive ways**
I'm not quite sure how I came across Robin Dreeke's It's Not All About 'Me', but I'm glad I did.
Robin is the lead instructor at the FBI's Counterintelligence Training Center in all behavioral and interpersonal skills training.
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And he wrote an awesome book on how to master the skills of communication.
His process not only includes research into social and evolutionary psychology, but it's been honed from years of field experience.
I've been trying these out over the last few days and I've already noticed an improvement. Most importantly, I've put away my phone and focused on the person with whom I'm talking. This simple act of giving people my undivided attention has made a world of difference.
There are not many places that teach these techniques and I couldn't have asked for a better guide than Robin.
1. Establishing artificial time constraints
I suspect you've sat in a bar at one point or another and been approached by a stranger who tried to start a conversation. My guess is you felt awkward or possibly even uncomfortable. This is because you didn't know when or if the conversation would end.
When you approach someone to start a conversation most people assess the situation for threat before anything else.
2. Accommodating nonverbals
This is a pretty simple one. You want to look nonthreatening. The number one nonverbal technique to use to look more accommodating is to smile.
This isn't new. It's the second of six principles in Dale Carnegie's book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
You can however accentuate your smile in a subtle way.
High chin angles make someone feel like you're looking down at them.
Another key nonverbal is body angle. Standing toe to toe with someone else can be intimidating.
How you shake hands matters too.
3. Slower rate of speech
Speaking fast may mean you're excited. It may even mean that you know what you're talking about. However speaking slowly gives you more credibility.
4. Sympathy or assistance theme
If you're like most people, you've felt a bit of regret for turning down someone seeking help.
5. Ego suspension
This may be the most rewarding and most difficult of all of Robin's techniques.
6. Validate others
There are many types of validation. Robin identifies three of them.
This is the simplest and one of the most effective. Just listen to someone can produce amazing results. Where we run into problems is keeping our own thoughts, ideas, and stories out of the conversation.
And there is another benefit. When the focus is on the other person and we're not anxious to tell our own story, we also tend to remember the details. We're mindful.
Demonstrating thoughtfulness in words and actions with everyone in our lives is a simple and effective way to improve our relationships.
Validate thoughts and opinions
This technique is quite difficult because of "our innate need to correct others and the difficulty we have suppressing our own egos."
But if you remember that we like people who are like us, you'll immediately grasp the power of validating thoughts and opinions of others.
The best way to get someone to do what you want them to do is to have them come up with the idea. The best way to have them come up with your idea is, no surprise, to honestly understand the other person's point of view and then build upon that base with your ideas.
7. Ask … How? When? Why?
It's hard to answer these questions with a simple yes or no.
This means suppressing your ego and listening to what people are saying. You're not thinking about what you're going to say next. You're not thinking about how the person is wrong. If you're really listening then asking open ended questions based on the content of what they are saying should be pretty easy.
8. Connect with quid pro quo
In the context of a conversation this means giving up a little information about yourself in order to further the conversation and get a little from others.
9. Gift giving
This is conversational reciprocation in action.
The key is to do this without an agenda. If you have an agenda you'll come across as insincere.
10. Manage expectations
The surest way to avoid disappointment is to lower expectations.
If you're looking to improve the connections you have with others, give it a read.
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