Some people are a natural when it comes to tuning in to other people. They have a compassionate nature and can sense what others are about. Or they may have a highly developed sixth sense or intuition that allows them to quickly pick up on other people’s thoughts, feelings, and needs.
If this does not come naturally for you, no problem. There are lots of tools and techniques to help you become a better people person! You might have heard of the science called Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), which combines the dynamics of mind (neuro), words, (linguistic), and their interaction in how it affects our own thought process as well as our communication with others. Several tools that are taught in NLP trainings are valuable in improving our communication with others and for tuning in to other people. Additionally the work of Robert Cialdini, author of Influence, provides helpful methods to increase rapport, which helps us tune in to other people.
If you’ve always wanted to be a more effective communicator or would like to be more sensitive to what other people are saying and feeling, you might want to check out some of these tools and tips that help you build rapport (connection). Once you’ve developed these skills, people become more open, and you can more easily tune in to who they are.
Modeling. This is the process of copying someone else’s speech, mindset, or behavior. Without seeming like a monkey, if you match another person’s rate of speech, word usage, body language, breathing patterns, or tone of voice, you build rapport. Also called “matching and mirroring,” these techniques allow you to become highly tuned in to how the other person is thinking and perceiving the world around them. People tend to feel comfortable with others who seem similar to them.
Reciprocation. If someone gives you something, whether a smile, compliment, or gift, you probably feel compelled to give back. To build rapport, give what you’d like to get back. If it’s information, share information. If it’s an answer, ask a question.
Commonality. Take a genuine interest in the other person and look for common interests and values. People love to share their passions with others. Do you both love gardening, riding motor cycles, playing golf, traveling? Lots to talk about!
Styles. Notice what communication style is most comfortable for the other person. Do they seem to be more visual, auditory, or kinesthetic? You can hear it in the words they use like, “I see what you mean,” or “I hear what you’re saying,” or “Let’s go do that now.” Also is the other person more interested in details or the big picture?
Goals. What is this person’s agenda for your interaction? What are their bigger goals? How can you help them achieve their goals? Offering support, advice, ideas, or resources allows you to close the distance between two people.
Respect. Show respect for the other’s time, energy, ideas, and who they are. Everyone wants to be appreciated and valued.
Listen. The best way to tune in to other people is to listen. Turn off your agenda and rambling mind, and be 100% present. People will sense your interest, intention, and integrity and open up to you.
If tuning in to others remains a challenge after using some of these tools, consider discussing this with a personal life coach. They are expertly equipped to help you apply these tools to experience greater success.