Tool #1: The Elephant in the Room
There are some important lessons here:
- Perception is unique to each of us. We each see things differently.
- Each blind man is certain, is sure of what he is perceiving. Therefore, each man knows he’s right. Of course not one of them is right.
- Which means that we need to maintain our awareness that there is be a big difference between being certain and being right.
- We tend to notice the things that confirm our thinking — because we like to be right. Of course, so does the other person. As a result, we can miss a lot.
Tool #2: How to Get What You’re Looking For
If you use Google search, you know how important it is to be specific in your search terms. Why? Because you know that the less clear your search terms, the more extraneous material you’ll receive. Which means you have to either plow through stuff you don’t want, or you run another search with more specifics.
How does this work for relationships?
Tool #3: The Big Picture
The Big Picture is your shorthand to understanding how relationships work. The How To Who Toolbox will take you through many tools and processes that engender effective relationships. But the Big Picture is the overall concept to keep in mind. Even if you were to get nothing else, getting this concept will make a big difference in your relationships.
Tool #4: How to be a Savvy Listener
Here’s the big catch: When you listen, do you ever stop and consider how you are actually listening? Pay attention, how are you coming across? — are you judging? Empathizing? Learning? Forensically? If you find yourself in judging mode, you can bet the the speaker senses it — and they are guarding their words carefully. So, ironically, when we listen in the assess/judge mode, the speaker shares less information! Similarly, when we listen in the learning mode, the speaker senses it and shares the information they think you need which may not be all the information.
Tool #5: How to Ask Savvy Questions
As we all know, one of the keys to building good relationship is to get to know someone; to find out about them – how they think, what’s important to them, etc. Most of us are good at asking the usual business-related questions such as “What is this project about?”, “Who else is on the team?”, “What’s the goal?”, etc.
What we need are questions that go beyond the shallow without getting overly personal or intrusive. Once you master this technique for Savvy Questions, you’ll find you are learning more and more about another person.
Tool #6 How to Talk to be Understood
A person talking usually has our full attention for about 3-10 seconds. The reason is that when we listen to someone our minds give about 3-10 seconds of full focus before we start thinking of our own ideas. After that, our mental voices kick in with all sorts of ideas, judgments, connections, etc. Our attention shifts inside to our own thinking. The reason for is that we think magnitudes faster than anyone can speak. Thoughts travel at 70 MPH inside our heads. And the human mind doesn’t shut down or slow down to keep pace with a speaker.
Tool #7: How to Get Connected
We all know how important it is to connect with others. And we all know how to do it. Connecting is the very essence of relationships. No connection means no relationship. So what do you do when you’re just not feeling it and it’s a relationship you really need? How do you shift things to the positive?
Tool #8: How to Spot Behaviors that Help and Hinder
Sometimes, we choose how we want to behave. Other times, we respond without thought. Some of our behaviors help a relationship; others hinder. We all behave both ways. It depends upon how we choose, or, better said, how much stress we’re feeling at the time. Here are two lists of behaviors; the first list helps; the second list hinder relationships.
Tool #9 How to Be Generous in Relationships
Generosity and kindness are a little different in business relationships— but not much different. I’m sure you’re familiar with the idea of sending a business contact a book or article that is pertinent to his or her situation. It’s a powerful way to let someone to know that you’re thinking of them and their issues (as contrasted with only thinking of them when you’re going to close a deal).
Tool #10: How to Deal with Difficult People
Overall, when faced with difficult people, focus on remaining calm. Anxiety is very contagious, so it’s best to resist joining into negative emotions. Anxiety speeds up our brain, our cadence, and cranks up the emotions. So cool it; get a grip, slow it down.
When you master the art of the positive inference, you will find yourself in control of what’s happening and how people respond to you. Even if they aren’t good communicators, your ability to keep things cool will be striking. Your relationships will be much more successful and effective. People will really be impressed with how you deal with difficult situations.
Tool #11: How to Be a Master Communicator
There are two things going on in every conversation — the content and the process. The way you develop mastery is to become aware of both at the same time.
And this is how you can apply your mastery: You observe the process and shift to another if the conversation isn’t moving smoothly. Shifting process is an extremely effective way to get things on track — more effective than adding new content.
Tool #12: Bringing it Together
12 Principles for Personal Effectiveness:
- Avoid defensiveness — your own and provoking it in others. Once you understand defensiveness as a core issue, you can see the various ways it plays out with relationships.
- It’s about the other person and often so much less about me.
- Discounts are acid to relationships. Watch for them and attempt to rectify when you can.