Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Communication Starts with Rapport

Magazine article CMA - the Management Accounting Magazine

Communication Starts with Rapport

Article excerpt

We all find ourselves in situations where our attempts at communication are met with glassy stares, defensive body postures, and answers that do not seem to have anything to do with our questions. In these instances, we are victims of "communication lock-out." For ideas to be freely ex-changed and understood we need to create rapport, an elusive state of comfort and connectivity between individuals. There are a number of simple skills we can use.

Walk the walk. Research shows that only seven per cent of what we communicate comes from the actual words we use, and another 38 per cent from how we say them. Since 55 per cent of our communication happens non-verbally through body language, it is obvious that the rapport process starts long before we open our mouths to speak. People instinctively relate to others who match their physiology. We start the rapport process by a observing and matching how people sit, stand, walk and gesture.

Talk the talk. How we speak is much more important than the actual meaning of the words we use. By trying to match the speed, tone and volume of another person's speech, we build rapport with him or her.

Understand learning styles. Although all of us learn through three basic learning styles: auditory, visual or kinesthetic, none of us is strong in all three. It is critical that we are able to identify our own primary and secondary learning styles, and observe them in others. We are then able to adapt our communication to the other person's preferred learning style and improve the chances for effective dialogue.

One of the easiest ways to get clues about someone else's preferred learning style is to observe his or her choice of verbs in situations where there is no obvious response. Even simple phrases or comments can give us excellent clues. A reply like, "I see what you mean," indicates a visual learner. An auditory learner may say, "I bear what you are saying," whereas a kinesthetic learner may respond with a statement like, "I feel good about that."

People will also give you specific direction on how they want you to communicate with them. A kinesthetic person may ask, "Could you show me how to do it?" A visual learner may request that you draw a process diagram so they can see what you are trying to explain. An auditory learner may ask, "Could you say that again so that I am sure to understand?"

Eye to eye. …

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