Picture the situation – a married couple meeting after a long day at work. The husband is tired, but tries to put on a smile for his wife. Making light conversation, he says “I’m starving!” She responds by getting angry and snapping at him. What happened? It turns out that his attempt to communicate light conversation was taken, by her, to be an impatient and sarcastic way of telling her that he expected her to cook for him. Feeling that he did not care about her own well-being, she got angry.
Has anything similar ever happened to you? Have people misunderstood what you were trying to say? If you are looking for ways to improve your communication, NLP can help.
The Importance of Body Language
Great communication happens when your intended meaning is picked up by the other person the way you wanted it to be. Spend some time in the mirror, or even recording yourself, speaking naturally. Do you really come across as friendly when you are trying to be? When people detect insincerity they will feel like pulling away from you, even if they don’t consciously realise it. NLP provides you with the skills to improve your communication by paying close attention to the postures, gestures, expression and tone that you use. If you want to sound friendlier, more professional etc, model your behaviour on somebody that you would like to imitate. Watch exactly what they do and practice copying them. It’s a skill set that you will find very easy to use having attended our NLP Practitioner training.
Rapport is the key to good communication. It is defined as “an especially harmonious or sympathetic relation”. When you have good rapport with somebody, you feel that you are on their wavelength. Creating good rapport can improve relationships, increase your chances of getting jobs and business deals, and generally make you a more likable person. When people have good rapport with somebody, they claim to like them more, even if they cannot explain why.
One of the first NLP techniques for creating rapport that we will teach you at our NLP Practitioner training, is how to watch the other person’s body language and mirror or match it. If they lean back in their chair, lean back in yours. If they reach for a sip of their drink, reach for a sip of yours. You’ll learn how to do this out of the other person’s conscious awareness, so it is subtle and natural. After a while, the other person might start to copy you in turn without realising it. This is a great way to improve communication, as you can slowly start to make your gestures and postures more open and friendly – then, the other person will follow your lead and start to do the same.
You can also improve rapport and communication by listening out for the words that people use the most. Do they use…
- visual phrases (like “I see what you mean” / “It appears to me…”),
- auditory (“I’m hearing you loud and clear” / “Sounds good”) or
- kinesthetic (“That’s a sticky issue” / “That doesn’t feel right”)?
Everybody favours one sense over the others. Once you have found which sense the person uses most in their speech, you can match it. People will feel a stronger sense of rapport with those who share their preferred sense.