Rapport

Same Wavelength

When you’re negotiating that big business deal, there’s an essential element you absolutely must have: trust.

Each side in the negotiation has to believe, to the core, that the other person/team will follow through on what they say they’re going to do. Sure, you might have a contract, but in reality it’s just ink on a page; what’s really important is the relationship between the two sides doing business together.

Sometimes you immediately trust someone, and you may not know why. You’ll feel like you’re “on the same page,” “of the same mind,” or “on the same wavelength.” These are all ways of saying you both have rapport.

Reflected Empathy

Rapport is the feeling that you both “get it.” You both understand each other fully.

Rapport is essentially “reflected empathy.” You’ve put yourself in the other person’s headspace, see the world through their eyes, and communicate that understanding through your verbal & non-verbal communication.

Missing the Mark

Most “body language experts” (scare quotes used on purpose) will tell you if you want to establish rapport with someone, that you should mirror their body language. If they cross their arms, you should cross your arms. If they lean against the wall, you should lean against the wall.

You can usually tell who blindly follows this advice because they’re so obvious about it.

Their attempt to come across as trustworthy winds up backfiring. It goes wrong because they lack empathy. This results in a robotic mimicking of the other person’s actions, and it weirds us out just like a human-like android does.

(To understand exactly why this is so unsettling to us, look into the uncanny valley.)

Shortcut to Empathy

If the shortcut to rapport is empathy, then the shortcut to empathy is listening.

So few people are excellent listeners that if you can even pay the smallest amount of attention to someone, they’ll feel like the most important person in the world.

Magic Formula

Genuinely listen, consider what the other person says, cultivate an empathetic understanding of their position, reflect that viewpoint, and they’ll feel like you understand them.

Instant rapport!

This will come across in your tone of voice, the words you use (similar to theirs), your posture, amount of personal space, and so on.

And remember, in order to get something, you first have to give something.

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. ~Ernest Hemingway 

How About You?

Have you ever experienced instant rapport with someone? Felt like you’d been friends forever? I’d love for you to tell me about it. What was it like? How do you think you build rapport with people? Let me know on Facebook.

NeoDidact

Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education. ~Bertrand Russell

Herman Melville, Ernest Hemmingway, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain, Frank Lloyd Wright, the Wright Brothers, Henry Ford, Charles Darwin, Leonardo DaVinci, Buckminster Fuller, and thousands of other world-changing minds have something in common:

They’re AutoDidacts.

These are all people who taught themselves whatever skills they were interested in without the benefit of a mentor, or the interference of education.

Too many people misconstrue an education for intelligence, or having a degree with genius. Here’s an incredible autodidact (and personal hero of mine) talking about how the most educated people are often the easiest to fool:

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PolyDidact

Personally, I’ve been educated with a mixture of self-directed practice, reading books, attending college, and personal mentors.

I taught myself a lot on my own, then demonstrated skill to people who would become my mentors, and then threw college into the mix. I was fortunate to grow up around some really interesting people who taught me really cool stuff like how to juggle fire when I was 13 years old.

Not everybody is as lucky as I am.

Digital Revolution

Until recently, everyone who would be considered an “autodidact” was severely limited in how they could learn. It was either through books (which could be hard to come by), or mentors (who might not live close by).

Nowadays, however, we have access to an incredible resource that’s so incredibly powerful & extensive that you’ll never reach its end; the internet.

No matter what topic you want to learn about, you can do a quick search and find detailed tutorials that can walk you through step-by-step. You can listen to Harvard lectures for free.

We are no longer bound by space & time. We can compress decades’ worth of someone else’s hard work into a couple minutes on YouTube.

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants. ~Isaac Newton

Free Your Mind

Too many people think success is locked behind the gates of certificates, stamps of approval, or some other gatekeeper.

Don’t get me wrong; if you’re a brain surgeon, I want you to have the proper education.

Otherwise, I don’t really care.

Use YouTube. Learn via Skype. Read interactive e-books.

Don’t allow yourself to be trapped by the belief you need someone else’s approval to learn what you need to get the life you want.

NeoDidact

This is the term I coined for the people who have already figured out the world has fundamentally changed. They’re bypassing the old ways of learning.

It’s exciting to think about what kind of incredible discoveries, works of art, and advances in human potential is just around the corner. Think about all the amazing accomplishments achieved by the list of people at the top of the article; wonder what they could have done if they had the internet growing up.

A better question is, what will you do?

Objections, Your Honor

Whenever I talk with anyone in sales, this question invariably pops up:

“How would you suggest I deal with objections?”

Short answer:
Don’t do anything objectionable.

Long Answer:
Take a seat.

Objections can take many forms. Maybe it’s about budget. Timing. Needing to talk with a partner before making big decisions.

Whatever they’re telling you, it’s a smoke screen.

The reason they give is never what the objection is truly about. No matter what the excuse, here’s the real issue:

Lack of Trust

Maybe they don’t trust you. Maybe they don’t trust themselves. Maybe they don’t trust whatever you’re selling to do what they need done.

Maybe they don’t trust their ability to do what you say they can do.

Maybe they don’t trust their team to follow through.

How do you find out?

You’re not a mind reader, so the only other option is to treat their objection as a request for more information. They need to know more about you, what you’re selling, other people who have bought from you previously, their results, how people like them have fared with your services, etc.

Objections are really only objections when you’ve done something inappropriate. Otherwise, they’re a request to build more trust.

Success Will Destroy You

When I first started performing, I didn’t trust the audience. I would finish a routine where I predicted the future, moved objects with my mind, or influenced someone’s choices, and people would clap like crazy. It’s amazing stuff, and it’s no wonder people would applaud!

But I didn’t believe it.

I thought they were bored, disappointed, or just clapping because that’s what’s expected of them.

Maybe they were, who knows?

Point is, I’m not psychic so I have no real idea what they were thinking.

What was really going on was I was dealing with my own impostor syndrome, and feeling like I wasn’t worth the positive attention I was getting.

Eventually I figured out that nobody has to clap if they don’t want to. They seemed to be doing it on their own volition because they genuinely wanted to show their appreciation.

I’d made it past the hurdle of self doubt without tripping.

Since I passed that test, life tries to destroy me using a different approach: success.

After shows people love to come up and shake my hand. They want me to sign autographs. They tell me how much they love my show (& by extension me).

Basically every single person I talk to afterwards has nice things to say.

It’s an illusion.

What I’m experiencing is the result of a self-selecting process. Turns out, the only people who are willing to stand in line to talk to me are the people who liked what I did. If someone isn’t a fan, they won’t waste their time; they’ll just walk out. This creates a situation after shows where I’m only encountering people who like what I do.

This can destroy me.

It gives me a false sense that there’s no need to improve. There’s no need to continue working on my craft. There’s no need to put in more effort.

That’s a lie.

Success requires constant struggle. Constant improvement. Constant reevaluation of choices.

Moral of the Story

Don’t believe your own hype. Thank people for the kindness they show you, but don’t make your choices based on the opinions of others.

Stay grounded, and don’t lose your drive.

Teachable Moment or Time for a Lesson?

Employees make mistakes, and even if you’re not new to the management game it can be difficult to know what to do about it.

You do the best you can. When you know better, you do better. ~David Hira

If someone under your care messes up, the first thing you should do is ask yourself:

Are they trying to do their job correctly?

If the answer is Yes, then this is an opportunity for you to continue their training. Help them understand why what they did was a mistake, what the expected course of action from this point forward is, and why. If the answer is No, however, then this is the time for disciplinary action. If they consistently are making the same mistakes even after proper instruction, then they are actively wasting your company’s time & resources.

Too often I see managers writing people up for simple mistakes that were the result of the manager’s own failure to properly train their employees. Disciplining someone who is genuinely trying to do good work will only erode any enthusiasm or loyalty they feel to your company. As a manager, it’s your job to tell your employees what’s expected of them, give them the tools to do their job, and empower them to use those tools.

Mistakes will be made, and that’s just par for the course. What you shouldn’t do is punish those who are trying. Otherwise, you’ll create an environment where honest hard-working people will be too scared to do anything, and that is the biggest mistake you can make.

Employee Turnover

There’s an entertainer’s proverb that goes a little something like:

Don’t believe your own promo.

It’s a subtle reminder to keep your head on your shoulders, and not get too carried away with the story of your character at the expense of losing who you actually are.

(Plus, if you choose to only believe the nice things people say about you, why don’t you choose to believe what all your haters say, too?)

This isn’t limited to the world of entertaining. It happens everywhere. And I get it, the neatly packaged soundbite is so much easier to handle than the (often) messy / unflattering truth.  In an effort to maintain our image, we like to gloss over the parts that we don’t like, and pretend they’re not there.

Doing this will destroy your life & business.

Case in point.

Losing Employees

CEOs, C-suite executives, and managers often think excessive turnover is just the nature of the beast.

It isn’t.

Sure, the world has changed to a more gig-focused dynamic, but employees who feel like their contributions matter (and are fairly compensated for it), will be fiercely loyal.

Turnover, then, is a symptom of a bigger issue and it’s costing your business dearly. Think about the gym industry. They have a turnover rate of 160% annually.

That means hire all new people. Fire everyone. Then hire 60% more new people.

Every. Year.

And they wonder why the industry is dying…

Decreased Effectiveness

Think about your business. A solid worker walks up and hands you a typed resignation letter. (Or even better, just emails it on Saturday night.)

You know that the instant someone turns in their two weeks’ notice, their give-a-shit drops to less than zero. This means other people on your team will have to step in to take up the slack.

And when you really think about it, you’ll realize that process didn’t start on the day they handed in their resignation. Who knows how long they’ve been pulling back from their job? How long have you been losing out on their capacity to be productive?

It could be months of lost revenue due to lack of engagement.

Maybe you’ll have to reach out to a temp agency to find a replacement. That costs the staffing agency time & money in terms of their vetting process, employee costs of their own, etc. Do you think that all happens for free? Nope. They pass those costs on to you, their customer.

Further, you now have the tricky job of facilitating their transition out of your organization. Exit interviews, HR hours spent covering your legal ass, etc. That all costs a lot, too.

Sidenote: Exit interviews are less than worthless. If you’re waiting this long to care about what your employee thinks about your company, you shouldn’t be surprised they’re leaving you. Also, if you expect honest answers, you’re crazy. If you actually wanted the truth, your employee would have felt comfortable coming to you with their problem months ago. Instead, they disengaged from your company, coasted on your time, and will give you the answers they think you want to hear.

What else are you losing when that employee leaves? All that institutional knowledge and shared culture. This has a direct impact on everyone else in the team, too. If you’re a client-based dynamic, who knows how many of your clients they’ve culled from your database. Goodbye contracts!

All Important Process: Hiring

So your company is hemorrhaging value with the loss of a single employee. Now you have to stop the bleeding. You want it done as quickly as possible, but if you don’t do it right, you’ll be right back in the same situation you’re in right now.

Hiring is one of the single most important things your company will do.

A lot of companies I work with don’t have a dedicated team to handle the hiring process. Instead, they dump it on some poor soul who already has a full plate. Now they have another hat they’re not trained to wear. Their client-facing work suffers. The client relationships suffer as they’re now focused on this new responsibility.

How can you expect stellar results when you hand one of the most important responsibilities a company has to someone that the dart landed on?

Knowing how to filter qualified candidates is a fine art itself. How do you get through the fluff, and to the heart of how your candidate actually works?

(Wouldn’t it be nice to have a mind reader on your side. . .)

How many hours are spent checking references? Leaving messages? Scheduling times to call back? Actually talking to references.

Multiplied by the number of candidates.

All before knowing they’re worth the effort.

5th Gear

So you’ve finally gone through the hiring process, found the perfect fit for the job & your company’s culture. Now what?

I don’t care how amazing someone is at their job; they’ll never be up to speed on their first day.

So.

What’s your onboarding process like?

Disney’s is a multi-day process. (I know because I went through it, myself!) It’s no surprise why they consistently have the best customer service in the world. They understand the value of instilling their employees with the right understanding of how their company works, and the culture they’ve built around their brand.

Again, what’s your onboarding process like? A couple balloons at their station and a handshake?

That’s going to cost you.

Grand Total

No wonder the cost of turnover can easily surpass the annual salary of the employee you’re replacing. You’d have to keep the newly hired person onboard for more than a year to just break even.

So, what’s the solution?

Keep your employees happy in the first place. Hire smart when you absolutely must bring someone new into the company.

How do you do all that? Glad you asked, because that’s exactly what I do.

When you truly understand what motivates your employees, you can custom-fit your strategy to what they want. This is one of those mythical win-win situations that I absolutely love helping clients achieve.

Let’s talk. You’ll find my rates to help keep your employees happy will pay for itself many times over. . .

Curiosity Killed the Cat

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]And it will kill you, too.

Millions of people are living life thinking about “what if?” They’re wondering how things could have been different.

They’re curious about that path they never took.

They’re living lives of quiet regret.

This is what happens when you only stay curious about something.

Too many people never exercise their curiosity. They never take action to find out how things could be different; they only think about it. They choose to daydream about an imaginary future where things are better. This serves to make them more discontent & unhappy with where they are now.

Even if where they are is pretty damn good.

Few people know there’s a second part to that saying:

And satisfaction brought him back.

Find a way to test things out. Curious about turning your hobby into your full-time job? Start a side hustle. Thinking about quitting your 9-5 to travel the world? Go on a mini vacation and test drive your theory.

Human beings are remarkably bad at predicting what will make them happy. Lottery winners are usually more miserable 6 months later than they were before buying that ticket.

Putting your curiosity into action in micro-doses will help you understand whether or not that imaginary future will actually make you happy, or not.

You’ll have the satisfaction of first-hand experience to make better & better choices.

What is it you’ve been curious about, but always thought it was beyond your reach?

What are you curious about that’s slowly killing you?

Don’t let it take control. Use your curiosity to guide your choices so you can move forward with the satisfaction of knowing for sure what will make you happy.

Seem impossible? Let me help you.[/vc_column_text][us_btn text=”Start Our Conversation” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.likeamindreader.com%2Fcontact%2F|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Self Defense

When most people think about self defense, they usually think about screaming “NO!” as loudly as they can, stomping the instep, kneeing the groin, and running towards a well lit area with lots of people.

So what does self defense have to do with a mind reading blog giving business advice?

A lot, actually.

Self defense is a lot more than a weekend course on how to scratch someone’s eyes out. It’s a whole approach to keeping yourself safe from:

  • strangers
  • family
  • friends
  • yourself

That last one throws a lot of people for a loop. They forget that you can often be your own worst enemy.

Case in point: how do you talk to yourself? If someone said the exact same things you say about yourself, would you let them stay in your life for very long? Probably not, right?

How much negative news coverage to you consume on a daily basis? How does that make you feel?

Sure, you justify it by telling yourself, “I have to stay up on what’s going on in the world” but what has it done to your mental well-being to allow that much negativity into your mind? How could it not affect you?

How much gossiping do you allow? Do you let other people share gossip with you? Do you talk about people who aren’t in the room? What kind of trustworthy relationships you can build when people know you’ll talk about people behind their back?

What do you do every day to make sure you spend time focusing on the good in the world? Do you read? Do you meditate? Do you call your friends to ask how they’re doing without turning it into your personal therapy & complaining session?

How do you spend your mornings? Do you listen to audiobooks so you can be exposed to interesting concepts? Or do you listen to shockjock radio full of commercials trying to sell you on a hollow dream of happiness available for 4 easy payments of 19.99?

What you allow in your mind is a choice. You have control over your thoughts.

You can install your own mental ad blocker, of sorts.

Maybe I should say you [can] have control over your thoughts. Because if you can’t manage the quality of your internal state, how do you expect to manage your external state which has infinitely more moving parts?

Self defense starts with you.

Need some help with that? Give me a call. Let’s chat.