Phone Etiquette

Techniques for Creating and Sustaining Rapport Over the Phone

How to go about creating immediate rapport over the phone, within the first five seconds, is a key component of any sales training course, but is often overlooked in other forms of communications training. You will see that the same rules apply as for meeting someone face to face (apart from body language because the person can’t see you). The Mehrabian ‘liking’ rule referred to earlier, changes when we’re engaging in communication on the phone. When talking about feelings, the importance of your tone increases to 84 per cent and that of words increases to 16 per cent, in terms of gaining the like and trust of the person to whom you’re talking.

There are a few simple techniques used by salespeople that will help you, as a professional, gain rapport over the phone:

Note  Sit up straight – Although your body language doesn’t directly influence your conversation, it’s important to recognise that your posture can have a direct impact on your tone of voice, which is a critical tool when building rapport over the phone. You want your tone to convey attentiveness to the other person, and sitting up straight helps you achieve this without having to think consciously about it.

Open the call with a smile – Believe it or not, a smile can be heard and a ‘smiling voice’ is more welcoming and relaxing for the other person, so they will be predisposed to like you.

Start the conversation with small talk – A simple question such as ‘how are you?’ will let the other person knows they are speaking to a human being. Most people will respond to you in a friendly manner and it helps to break the ice. Reply to their answer with a relevant, but positive, response and then move the conversation forward. Unlike the face-to-face meeting, you will not usually have the luxury of spending five or ten minutes making small talk at this stage (unless you know them well).

Listen well – Avoid distractions and allow yourself to concentrate on the other person and their conversation. Let them know you are listening by responding with gentle and soft ‘uh-huhs’ or ‘mmms’ as they speak (remember, they can’t see you nodding in agreement). Do not, under any circumstances, interrupt them. Allow the speaker to finish what they are saying.

Match words – As you would in a face-to-face context, use words that your caller uses in their conversation, especially any adjectives.

Show empathy – To show empathy means to share in someone else’s thoughts or feelings, and it is a great way of building rapport over the phone. Empathy can be shown by using phrases such as: ‘I understand what you mean’; ‘I can see where you are coming from’.

Be friendly, even when it’s a difficult conversation – Use good inflection and modulation in your voice. Do not raise your voice or withdraw from the conversation. Keep showing empathy, ask sensible questions and share in the light-hearted moments. Don’t forget to laugh at any jokes.

Note  Know when to close the conversation – There is nothing worse for rapport than trying to prolong a conversation that has run out of steam.Summarise the key points of the conversation as you understand them, ask the other person whether they agree, then confirm the next action. Then politely say, ‘Thanks for your time, I really enjoyed speaking with you’ and put the phone down. You can book Anubha’s Session and contact anubha@prismphilosophy.com, www.prismphilosophy.com

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EIGHT WAYS TO BUILD COLLABORATIVE TEAMS

The successful execution of a major initiative requires a complex team comprised of many educated specialists from diverse backgrounds. However, while the complexity of a team may be beneficial to an initiative, it can also make collaboration extremely challenging. To maximize the effectiveness of large, complex teams, the following eight practices are recommended By Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson:

  1. Invest in building and maintaining social relationship practices. Executives can build and maintain social relationships throughout their organizations with “signature practices,” or highly visible investments that demonstrate commitment to collaboration.

  2. Model collaborative behavior. Executive teams must support a culture of collaboration by making their own collaborative efforts visible to the rest of their organizations.

  3. Create a “gift culture.” A “gift culture” is one where employees view interactions with leaders and colleagues as valuable and generous. This can be cultivated if executives embed mentoring and coaching into their routine behavior and throughout their companies.

  4. Ensure the requisite skills. Collaboration improves when HR departments teach employees how to build relationships, communicate well, and resolve conflicts.

THE NEW SCIENCE OF BUILDING GREAT TEAMS

As said By Alex “Sandy” Pentland: When the MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory researchers equipped actual teams with electronic badges and recorded their collaborative behavior, the data revealed that the most important predictor of a team’s success was its communication patterns. The three critical dimensions of communication that affect team performance included:

  1. Energy: The number and nature of exchanges between team members. The most effective exchanges were face-to-face and videoconferencing.

  2. Engagement: The distribution of energy among team members. When all team members had equal, high levels of energy with other members, engagement was strong.

  3. Exploration: This included the communication that members engaged in outside of their teams. Higher performing teams sought more outside connections.

To improve individual and team performances, it is necessary for teams to explore the three critical dimensions of communication through the following steps:

*Step 1: Visualization. A team’s communication data can be collected by measuring and recording its energy, engagement, and exploration and mapping it over time.

*Step 2: Training. A team must use the map of its communication pattern as iterative visual feedback. It will be able to improve its communication pattern by using this visual tool to identify its shortcomings.

*Step 3: Fine-tuning performance. This includes mapping the energy and engagement patterns against a team’s performance metrics. The more the team aims to match its communication pattern to the high-performance ideal, the more its productivity will increase.

TEAM ASSESSMENT

Margerison–McCann Team Management Systems

Another view of role profiles has been established by Margerison and McCann (1995). Their work with managers led them to identify four key questions looking at how people prefer to:

  • relate with others;
  • gather and use the information;
  • make decisions;
  • organise themselves and others.
  • Researching these questions led them to identify four scales based on the managers’ work preferences. These scales were:
  • Relationships – extrovert/introvert;
  • Information – practical/creative;
  • Decision-making – analytical/beliefs-based;
  • Organisation – structured/flexible.

Margerison and McCann developed their Team Management Wheel. This Wheel identifies four major areas of preference (Advisers, Explorers, Organisers and Controllers) plus eight team roles. These roles are shown in the sectors of the Wheel with Linker at the centre. The team roles in the Wheel are described below.

  • Reporter–Adviser – Enjoys giving and gathering information.
  • Creator–Innovator – Likes to come up with ideas and different ways of approaching tasks.
  • Explorer–Promoter – Enjoys exploring possibilities and looking for new opportunities.
  • Assessor–Developer – Prefers working where alternatives can be analysed and ideas developed to meet the practical constraints of the organisation.
  • Thruster–Organiser – Likes to push forward and get results.
  • Concluder–Producer – Prefers working in a systematic way to produce work outputs.
  • Controller–Inspector – Enjoys focusing on the detailed and controlling aspects of work.

Upholder–Maintainer – Likes to uphold standards and values, and maintain team excellence. You can book Anubha’s Session and contact anubha@prismphilosophy.com, www.prismphilosophy.com

Communication Mean CONNECT

Connecting is the ability to identify with people and relate to them in a way that increases your influence with them.” -John C. Maxwell.

Connecting with Self, dyad or in the group by using either of the medium now or then, even though means are different but we need to connect to grow. Prism Trainings flagship Program – Communicate to Connect, helps you to learn all the important aspect of communication, using social media too.

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Sharing small inputs from Program. If you are looking for Communicate to Connect program, please email us at training@prismphilosophy.com

visit http://prismphilosophy.com/programs/

Types of Negotiation Situations

In any negotiation, the participants have a position, opinion or desired outcome, and these differ from each other. There may be significant differences between the positions or the differences may be minor. If the latter case, it is usually easier to negotiate an outcome that satisfies all parties but, as we shall see, once the emotion is added to the situation, this is not always the case. If there are significant differences between the positions, then the negotiation is likely to be more difficult even if there is a will on both sides to achieve a satisfactory outcome. If there is less of a will to resolve the situation, then the difficulties are compounded even further. While there may be two participants and two positions in negotiation, this is not necessarily the case and often there may be several of each. Typically the greater the number of positions/participants, the more the negotiation is problematic.

Negotiation occurs whenever we try to reach an agreement over an issue or a decision. Situations regarding negotiation are so numerous that often we don’t recognise a negotiation has taken place until later, or even at all. They range from the minor – who is going to make the coffee? – to the significant – what shall we pay to buy this company?

Some negotiations require interaction with someone you are unlikely to encounter again, such as during the private purchase of a car, so perhaps a tougher negotiation line will be profitable. But, and this is a big but, the underlying assumption that you will never see the person again may be incorrect. You never know when you might need their assistance or may come across them again. For example, inadvertently, you may have forgotten to take some of the car documents and so need to recover them. Unfortunately, the person is still smarting from your tough negotiating stance and now has the opportunity to make life difficult for you. It’s human nature to make the most of that opportunity in such circumstances. You can book Anubha’s Session and contact anubha@prismphilosophy.com, www.prismphilosophy.com

So, most of the time, we need to think about not just the negotiation itself but also the longer term impacts.

In our professional lives, some typical business situations that may require negotiation are:

  • customer/supplier business deal;
  • complaint resolution;
  • performance review;
  • pay rise;
  • product or task delivery timescale;
  • work distribution.

We need to understand that the context to the negotiation is key to determining the best approach. There may be some situations where it is quicker, cheaper or less stressful to accommodate other people’s needs and forget about negotiating. On the other hand, some situations may require an entire team of dedicated negotiators. Most business negotiations fall somewhere in between.

However, sometimes people don’t consider the context. They plough on regardless often because they have to ensure that they win the day no matter what the price of doing so. Others shrug their shoulders, do not state their case and move on – even if this leaves unresolved issues with serious implications. Poor negotiation skills will hinder personal and career development. Sadly, many people who do not understand negotiation fail to realise how much they are damaging their career prospects or closing the door on business opportunities.

EI in Groups

BUILDING THE EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OF GROUPS

By Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff

Although group Emotional Intelligence (EI) can help skilled teams reach their highest potential, it is far more complex than individual EI and therefore more difficult to cultivate. To build group EI, a team must be aware of and constructively regulate the emotions of:ee5ac37c-c247-4cd3-99e3-246507ade4f0.jpg

*Individual team members. To understand the sources of individuals’ emotional behaviours, members can perform role-playing exercises and adopt the opinions and styles of others. To regulate individual emotional behaviour, teams must learn how to constructively confront others.

*The whole group. Teams must use self-evaluation and feedback from others as norms that cultivate group self-awareness of their emotional states, strengths, and weaknesses. To regulate group-level emotion, teams must establish norms that create resources for working with emotions, foster an affirmative environment, and encourage proactive problem-solving.

*Other key groups. Teams can cultivate awareness of the emotions of other key groups by having team members act as liaisons to important constituencies. To regulate the emotions of other key groups, it is necessary to develop cross-boundary relationships in which appreciation is shown.

You can book Anubha’s Session and contact anubha@prismphilosophy.com, www.prismphilosophy.com 

Tips for Responding to Nonverbal Communication

Be aware. As you approach your next meeting, keep in mind that all this nonverbal communication is taking place. Notice, but don’t respond to, various cues expressed by meeting participants. It is helpful to develop a sensitivity to nonverbal behaviors before you begin responding in any way.

Stop, don’t assume. Approach people with caution; you can never be sure you fully understand the meaning of their nonverbal actions. Asserting that you know what someone is thinking from their nonverbal behavior may be seen as arrogant. And if you are wrong, it will be a major setback to your relationship with this person as well as with other team members.

Look for consistent responses. It is usually not necessary to respond the first time you notice a specific nonverbal cue. However, if you become aware that the person consistently responds in a particular way in similar situations, you may consider responding in some way. (“Marco, if I am reading you correctly, it seems as if you are not comfortable with the way we are moving on this issue. Is that true?”)

Look for patterns. If you see several members responding nonverbally to a presentation, something significant may be happening. If you observe negative reactions such as heads moving side to side, or people pushing back from the table or rolling their eyes, you can tentatively assume that there are some significant disagreements with or questions about this presentation. Your response might be to intervene with something like, “Gina, let me stop you here because I sense people have some questions about what you have said so far.” You can then ask an overhead question to the whole group or use a direct question to one of the nonverbal responders. (“Does anyone have questions or comments for Gina?” or “Roberto, do you have some questions about what has been said thus far?”)

Make it a question. Since you can never be sure your interpretation of the nonverbal behavior is accurate, it is always best to approach the person with a question. A question gives the person an opportunity to disagree (“No, Glenn, I have no problems with what has been said”) or to join the discussion (“Yes, Glenn, as a matter of fact, I think we are moving in the wrong direction on this issue”). You can book Anubha’s Session and contact anubha@prismphilosophy.com, www.prismphilosophy.com

The FISH Philosophy

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The #FISH! Philosophy includes four simple, interconnected practices and PRISM received compliments from team JABONG after a session on WINNING COOPERATION and QUIT QUITTING. A unique way of feedback by using FISH PHILOSOPHY:

Be There: When people need you, they need all of you. It improves communication and strengthens relationships.

Play: Play is a mindset more than a specific activity. It allows you to throw yourself with enthusiasm and creativity into whatever you are doing, in a way that is natural, not forced. “Playing” with ideas helps you find solutions to everyday challenges.

Make Their Day: Simple gestures of thoughtfulness, thanks and recognition make people feel appreciated and valued. When you make someone else feel good, you feel good too.

Choose Your Attitude: To actually choose how you respond to life, not just react, you must be intentional. When you get up, decide who you want to “be” today. Moment-to-moment awareness is key. Ask yourself throughout the day, “What is my attitude right now? Is it helping the people who depend on me? Is it helping me to be most effective?”

Through The FISH! Philosophy, you can build stronger relationships with the team members, the customers we serve, the trainees we train and the people we love.

Screen Shot 2015-03-01 at 11.06.32 amAnubha Walia is an International Trainer, Facilitator and OD Specialist is a founder of Prism World, specialises in Human Process Facilitation carries  18+  years of rich experience at a senior role in Trainings & Quality. Her expertise includes Human Process intervention, Followership & Leadership, Team building and Quality Change Agent specialist. Visit http://prismphilosophy.com/anubha-prism/