Charm Offensive

Are you in tune with your staff? Use these eight simple moves to create loyalty and rapport in the workplace.

Everyone wants to feel acknowledged and recognized in theworkplace. The operative word here is feel. Professionalpeople should attempt to rise above their feelings and work towardaccomplishing the tasks related to their job. However, if amanager, supervisor or officer of a company has mastered theleadership skills to become trusted and well-liked by theiremployees, their employees will go out of their way to exhibithigher levels of productivity and remain loyal to them and thecompany.

Do you consider it manipulative to practice high levels ofrapport skills related to verbal and nonverbal communication foreffective leadership? It's a fact that businesses spendbillions of dollars each year to equip their employees with thenecessary skills and qualities to help them become more productive.For example, just because you tell someone the complete truthdoesn't mean they'll believe you, but there are easilylearned skills that will help you create immediate and high levelsof credibility.

Here are some suggestions for creating good relationships,loyalty and rapport in the workplace.

1. Watch how you're standing. Men enjoy standing sideby side when speaking to one another. Women enjoy facing each otherwhile talking to one another. Women: When approaching a man, slowlyposition your torso at an angle to his torso to make himcomfortable. Gentlemen, to make a woman comfortable, slowly moveyour torso so you're standing face to face with her to make hercomfortable.

2. In your mind's eye, picture a spotlight on anyoneyou're speaking to. Every time you speak, the spotlightturns off of them and on to you. So do your best to keep them, notyou, in the spotlight. Don't regale them with your tales ofyour experiences. Instead, use active-listening skills--stay withthem and explore their comments.

3. Avoid touching yourself when speaking to others. Doyour best to keep your hands still. Don't play with your hairor jewelry, wring your hands or touch your face. By touchingyourself, you're indicating your need to comfort yourself, andunconsciously that makes the other person feel you're notpaying attention to them.

4. Smile while you're talking. It's great tosmile when you're listening to someone, but it's equallypowerful to smile at someone while you're speaking to them.

5. Subtly mirror people's gestures when you'respeaking to them. If they sit back in their chair, sit back inyours. If they fold their hands, fold yours. You must be subtle, oryou'll get caught. Learn to be very graceful in your mirroring,and move very slowly, as if you're making natural movements andnot copying them.

6. Talk 20 percent of the time and listen 80 percent of thetime. Let people talk about their favorite subject: themselves.When someone is speaking, ask them questions, nod affirmatively asthey speak, and avoid interrupting them until they've finishedtalking and then ask them another question. When you'relistening, you're in control of the conversation because youcan guide the conversation anywhere you want it to go withoutvolunteering anything about yourself or your own opinions.

7. Avoid offering unsolicited advice in public or inprivate. Generally, people will become defensive and stoptalking when you offer them advice they didn't ask to hear.Offering advice makes a listener think they're wrong and thatthey've made a mistake by volunteering their viewpoint.Instead, say, "That's one way of looking at it," or"Let's take the learning experience from that and take itto the next level."

8. Offer sincere flattery every day to work associates,clients and vendors. Most people enjoy being thanked for a jobwell-done, but only comment on their behavior and not thempersonally. Be specific with your flattery, or it will fall flat.For example, "Good job on the graphics on the frontpage," or "You did a nice job of finding thatcustomer's lost baggage from Atlanta." Give flattery in atimely manner--don't wait too long to deliver it. Be sensitiveto the fact that some people like public flattery and some preferto receive theirs privately. Some people need frequent flattery,and some have difficulty with hearing any flattery at all.

Phyllis Davis coaches senior-level executives through hercompany, ExecutiveMentoring and Coaching Inc., and has taught corporate etiquetteand protocol for the past 28 years. She is the author of theforthcoming book E² The Power of Ethics and Etiquette inAmerican Business, available from Entrepreneur Press.

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