Rapport - How to Build it with Your Team

I've often heard managers say - "My door is always open, come and talk to me anytime."

You have to accept the fact that your team won't always do that. They might not want to bother you or they may feel that they should know the answers to their questions and they'll look stupid if they ask. And how many times have they approached you and you've been on the phone or "too busy?" It's your job to get out and talk to them.

I've also heard managers say - "I sit with my team in an open-plan office so I'm always available to them and I hear what's going on" - OH NO YOU DON'T!

It's important to get out of your office or up off your seat and mix with your people on a regular basis, don't wait for them to come to you. Pull up a chair and have chat and don't just talk about business, find out how they're doing on a human level. That doesn't mean prying into their personal life, but your team members want to feel that you're interested and care about them as a person.

It's also important that they feel free to chat amongst themselves so don't stifle that. A team who have good relationships with each other are a productive team.

Many business owners and managers aren't comfortable about speaking to their team members unless it's about business. I've worked for many managers who knew nothing or very little about me on a personal basis.

One of my colleagues once told me that our manager had asked him if I was gay. He'd come to this conclusion because there didn't seem to be a woman in my life. At the time he was coming to this conclusion, I was going through the break up of my fifteen year marriage to my wife. However my manager didn't know that nor would he have been able to handle it if he did. That doesn't suggest he was a bad person, he just didn't know how to make that human connection and sadly he didn't try.

Perhaps you're not comfortable speaking to your team on a human level, however, I would ask that you consider the importance of your communication and rapport building skills. Your success as a manager is highly dependent on your ability to listen and speak with your people.

Human beings crave attention and acceptance and they want to know you care. If your customers and your team members feel that you're interested and care about them as individuals, then it becomes so much easier for you to achieve your goals.

Successful entrepreneurs are excellent at building rapport. When you meet them they don't necessarily talk about themselves, they ask you questions. I've met several successful business people and I'm always impressed and flattered by their interest in me.

You can practise your rapport building skills any time, particularly in your personal life. In the locker room at my local health club, I notice that many of the guys don't speak to each other. I always make a point of saying hello or passing the time of day. If they don't want to talk then that's fine. However, I find they usually do and I've had some interesting conversations.

And forget what your mother said about never speaking to strangers - always speak to strangers!

Speak to everyone you meet and practise your rapport building skills - taxi drivers, people in trains, aeroplanes and anywhere else you come into contact. I sometimes have to push myself to do it but I'm always glad when I do.

Discover how you can generate more business by motivating your team! Alan Fairweather is the author of "How to get More Sales by Motivating Your Team" This book is packed with practical things you can do to get the best out of your people . Click here now http://www .howtogetmoresales.com/Motivating%20Your%20Team.htm

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