This is a continuation of our article, “Why Trust is Essential”. You can review Part I and Part II by clicking each.
In Part III we’ll examine how enhanced communication, persuasion, influence & manipulation contribute or detract from trust.
4) Enhanced Communication™, Persuasion, Influence and “Manipulation”
Even if someone has demonstrated all of the other elements of trust, if enhanced and skillful communication skills are missing, or if the person feels manipulated, the rest doesn’t matter. Things almost always go “sideways” at some point in the relationship.
Great communications skills are the ultimate leverage or “force multiplier” in both our business & personal relationships.
I coined the expression “Enhanced Communications Skills™” to describe a set of strategies, skills and tactics that make you much more persuasive and ultimately, when you have built trust, much more influential.
In an truly effective business relationship, each side has to communicate clearly often, and effectively in order to develop and to maintain a pattern and a well established default of mutual trust and respect.
What I am about to say might also seem controversial, but “honesty”, while essential in the long run, may be overrated as it can quickly become terse, hurtful, and a barrier to progress and trust. Too much “honesty” expressed too soon can end the relationship before it even gets started.
Look, I’m an advocate of truthfulness and honesty so let me clarify.
Honesty is essential. But it can often be used as an excuse and a rationalization to be abrupt or rough (thus ending progress toward trust).
For example, I once had a very wealthy client who would use a cell phone during meetings and who had difficulty breaking away from the business to deal with estate planning.
Then, that same person would later complain that the techniques we suggested to solve their problems seemed complicated or hard to follow.
I could have said (and I would have been being totally honest) “put away your cell phone and pay attention and they will be clearer”.
But that would have ended the relationship and he or she might have ended up in the hands of other counsel who paid less attention to their real needs and desires. They might have paid more but gotten less. And I wouldn’t have been paid at all. So not a good outcome for anyone.
So what did I do?
I agreed that the trust documents and estate planning strategies were complicated. I had the clients acknowledge that their own business structure and their goals are also completed. I offered to record the meeting and to transcribe it so that the clients and their spouses could review it at their leisure and “when there were fewer interruptions and pressures on them.”
I scheduled a meeting a few days later as a deadline for their time to review it. I told them that “since I had made it confusing” there would be no charge for that meeting. Everyone knew what was happening but I did it in a way where I took responsibility for the confusion.
At the next meeting, there were no interruptions and we were able to quickly select a “much clearer strategy” without confusion. The client now trusted me to be fair. As a side note, more of the undesirable behavior would not be tolerated and they would have broken trust with me. In the end, I was very well paid for my patience, my willingness to accept the blame and for taking the time to build trust.
This whole idea requires us to set the ego aside.
We may be right but we’ll get nowhere fast if the ego gets hurt and does the talking. RESOURCE: “The Ego IsThe Enemy”.
Note: That reminds me, I have a few affiliate links in these articles for books and resources. You can also track them down on your own if the idea of clicking such a link offends your ideas of truth & justice. I need your trust so I always try to let you know when I might be making a buck! Either way is fine with me. If I thought the affiliate link cost you money I’d not add it. I’d send you to the site directly.
For more free resources on great communications skills just Google “Dave Frees and the Six Word Question”, or click here. You can also follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/davefrees) or it costs a few dollars but you can read “The Language of Parenting: Building Great Family Relationships At all Ages”.
That book is filled with little tricks and skills of great communicators.
To get my full program that “installs” these into your negotiating, trust building, sales, marketing and management skills (here we go again with the resources that cost money) and is a quick short cut to way better communication, persuasion and skills of influence visit Persuasion2Profit.com . As a reader of this blog use the promo code INFLUENCE to get a Twenty-five percent discount.
Oh, by the way, that raises the issue of “manipulation.”
As you read my books, articles and use my products and systems, you’ll probably feel like you’re learning and using skills that are manipulative. And we’ve already said that feeling manipulated can interfere with building trust.
The belief that effective communications skills are “manipulative” can have the effect of holding you back in business and in relationships. And you need to realize that all communications are “manipulative” at some level.
Telling a joke? You’re trying to make someone laugh or to break the ice.
Persuading a kid to learn to swim or to get more exercise (for their own safety) well…. you’re manipulating them. In fact, if you don’t do your best to be highly persuasive I would suggest that you were hurting them.
So if all human communication is manipulative (and manipulation isn’t inherently bad) then what matters?
Your intent and your skills matter.
Using these skills of building trust and influence to sell someone a product or service that is less than optimal for them is a bad form of manipulation.
Failing to get them to act when you have really listened to what they say and you’ve determined that you have the best solution is a disservice.
Persuasion with the best intent and clear knowledge of their needs is not only appropriate, you’re a failure when you don’t do it.
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You can review Part I and Part II by clicking each.
Great article. Very helpful and reliable. Thanks for sharing this and keep up the good work. Very much appreciated.