Let’s face it, if you’re in PR, you have to be simpatico to most people you encounter (especially because everyone is a potential client!) and you must be able to build solid rapport within minutes of meeting a prospect. This is a people-centric business where building trust and rapport early in the game is the cornerstone to success.
So can anyone learn to build rapport and make a connection? You betcha! One of my favourite self-help books is from my friend and author Nicholas Boothman. His easy-to-read books have been worldwide bestsellers for years now and I highly recommend his books for anyone in business, period. His book, How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less, is a great read and his lessons are remarkably simple yet proven. He also has a few other books on connecting with people, his latest being How to Make Someone Fall in Love With You in 90 Minutes or Less. Frankly, I think you can also accomplish this in 90 seconds or less provided you’ve each had several martinis and Shakira is playing in the background. But I digress.
My favourite exercise in the book is about eye contact. As Boothman explains: “Eye contact is one for the most important non-verbal channels we have for communication.” So, for one day, make a mental note of the eye colour of every person you meet. You don’t have to try to remember the colour, but this small exercise will increase rapport and self-confidence. And yes, it works!
In another chapter entitled “Work on Your ABC: Attitude, Body Language and Congruence,” Boothman explains that attitude is the first thing people pick up on in face-to-face communication. He runs down very useful attitudes to project (e.g. warm, enthusiastic, confident) and very useless attitudes (e.g. angry, sarcastic, bored). He’s got some very useful attitude adjustment games as exercises that underscore how attitude affects body language.
The book is chock full of great lessons, tips and tricks to ensuring you connect well in business. I highly recommend this little gem if you’re looking for something to read over the holidays. Better yet, buy it as a stocking stuffer for everyone on your staff.