Understanding the human side of the IT equation is critical to the success of any IT professional. The ability to develop a feeling of connectedness and understanding is an important aspect of developing productive and trusted relationships.
Whether you are looking to develop a new relationship or improve existing ones with internal or external clients, here are some tips to assist you in the process.
1. Adjust your communication style
We’ve all grown up with an old adage that many of our grandmothers taught us that states ‘treat people the way you want to be treated.’ This only holds true if the person you are communicating with has the same personality or communication style as you.
It’s time we updated this adage to ‘Treat people the way they want to be treated.’ We need to alter our communication style to match others and stop expecting or even demanding that others change their style to match ours.
2. Get interested
The number one key to establishing rapport with others is to be interested in what they have to say, find out what’s important to them, what makes them tick. This means genuinely interested and not faking it.
3. Ask questions
In looking to achieve relatedness, we spend too much time talking and not enough time listening. Use questions to discover and gather information so you have the opportunity to find items or topics that you can “get interested” in.
4. Establish your credibility
When first meeting someone, people are very often thinking “Who are you?” and “Why should I listen to you?” Answer these questions quickly to establish your own credibility.
5. Match energy levels
People feel connected and understood by others who match the energy level they are projecting. Mirror someone’s emotions with an appropriate tone so they feel understood and that you are on the same wavelength with them.
6. Establish common ground
One of the simplest ways to develop rapport is to establish a background of relatedness. Find a topic, subject or an area of interest that you have in common.
7. Align your objectives
Set the context for communication. Mutually agreeing on the agenda, intended outcome and/or purpose of the meeting, conversation or interaction will go a long way towards establishing a feeling of relatedness.
8. Let go of ‘positions'
Another way of saying this is let go of your ego and your perceptions. Be open and willing to look from, and be accepting of, viewpoints other than your own.
9. Be proactive
Rapport and relatedness require you to be proactive in your communication. You’ll want to become aware of the habits required to build relatedness and start to bring them into your interactions and communications.
Lou Markstrom is the co-author of “Unleashing The Power of IT: Bringing People, Business, and Technology Together”, published by Wiley as part of its CIO series. He is also a professional development specialist at DDLS.