Years ago, I experienced an incident that got me thinking about how people connect or disconnect with others. It still sticks with me after all this time.
My husband and I were meeting with Tammy, a representative from the management company of our Florida condo association. It was the first time we’d met this woman, so we walked into her on-site office and introduced ourselves during our snowbird vacation. We had popped by during her regular office hours to discuss a small repair they were responsible for that required some attention in our condo.
Tammy curtly told us, “We need access to your condo and we didn’t have it last month”. No problem, I thought. They would need access to check out our condo and the situation so they could correct it. I responded, “Oh, we understand completely and you’re welcome to enter in our absence whenever you need to. Our friends Tom and Marlys (who live in the same complex) have our key and can give you access whenever you need.”
She snapped back without skipping a beat, “Well, that doesn’t help us. We need direct access.”
She had a point that was lost in her delivery.
Operationally, it would possibly be a headache to contact a third party in our absence (our primary residence is in Canada) to get access to our place. OK, I get it. But her response was so curt. It was so “me-oriented” with no consideration to the client, us and our perspective. My reaction was that I was turned off completely. This was the first time we’d met this woman, and it wasn’t a great impression.
I turned to my husband, Steve, and said, “Alrighty then. Steve, over to you”, and I let him follow up with her and continue the conversation. I knew that if I pursued it, the outcome wouldn’t be good. There was something about her response that pushed a button in me and totally disconnected. Have you ever felt that? Have you ever done that with a client or colleague?
This experience gave me a chance to step back and ask myself, “what happened?”.
Why did I feel so ticked off, so disconnected to this woman? And what did I learn from this that I could use with in my communications? In other words, what was the lesson? Here it is, the one thing that really disconnects is your focus.
QUESTION: Are you focusing on you or the person??
How to connect with others:
- DON’T present only your viewpoint.
- DO consider and focus on the other person’s perspective
- DON’T gloss over the efforts of others
- DO acknowledge their attempts to meet your needs (even if they don’t succeed)
- DON’T use words like, “that doesn’t help me (us)”
- DO use words like, “Let’s see how we can help YOU”
- DON’T ignore the dynamics of a conversation
- DO be aware when someone is ticked off, and step away if that person is you.
It’s all about building relationships.
How are you building yours? Use these tips above and I assure you, they will help you connect with your clients. Give them a try and enjoy the benefits to your bottom line and to your reduced stress levels. Great relationships help not only the other people in your life, they help you too. And isn’t that alone a great incentive?
© 2013-2022 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
©2022 Marion Grobb Finkelstein (MarionSpeaks)
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
Recipient of APEX “Award for Leadership in Service Innovation”
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