“Look guys … I’m gonna admit something real quick … and I know this may sound bad at first … but … I … hate … people.”
I don’t know if this is a “right” or “wrong” thing to say, but I’ve stood in front of groups during training and said this.
And then I’d go on and explain how I’m just really introverted and shy in real life and how I’m kinda really socially-awkward and how I don’t like large crowds and that I’d much rather be at home with the family then out on a Friday night.
In fact, my idea of “going out” involves early mornings out at the lakes or on the side of a mountain somewhere.
And as I’d explain this stuff, there’d always be at least a few others in the room who would punch in comments about how they hate people too, and how they “use the self-checkouts at the stores so they don’t have to speak with anyone,” and … stuff like that.
“But, I learned a long time ago … that if I’m gonna work in professional environments that require human interaction … that I’d better get good at dealing with people, and everything I’m showing you guys is really how I’ve managed to be really effective in both professional settings and even personal settings. Guys … this stuff works.”
So stuff like this is shocking to say … but not being afraid to admit stuff like that can really draw in the audience. Like, from that moment forward, people would just be more engaged and receptive to the concepts that I train on.
And of course I’d go on to explain how I don’t really hate people … I mean, I like coaching and mentoring and guiding and helping others to succeed. In fact, I’ve told my team at work many times: “Look … you guys don’t work for me … I work for you. Your success is my success, so if there’s anything I can help with, don’t be afraid to ask.”
And I mean it … I mean, think about it: As a leader, if you help your people to be as successful as possible in their positions, then they will be happy, engaged, positive, and productive … and all of that, in turn, will reflect back on you favorably.
Anyways, the whole “I Hate People” thing came up when discussing the traditional methods of building rapport where people tend to make meaningless small talk, like opening calls with: “How are you today?” or “How was your weekend?” or “How’s the weather out there?” stuff like that.
“Am I catching you at an okay time?” is a really nice thing to ask, but with how busy everyone seems to be, it’s never a good time.
And it sounds counterintuitive to coach people on not being “too nice” but, check this out: really nice people weird me out … and I know I’m not the only one.
And I mean people who are overly nice … it’s not just weird, but it sounds like they want something when they’re overly nice.
I have this theory on rapport-building though, and it works pretty much every time. This has really helped me with cutting out the fluff and cutting through the noise of “normalness,” and countless people that I’ve helped have expressed genuine appreciation for this approach, and it goes like this:
“If you want to build real rapport, be respectful of time and just take care of business and then guess what? They’ll love you for it.”
And it’s true, believe me.
And I’m not talking about being mean or being pushy or being emotionally-absent, either, like some robot.
Like, when I’m helping anyone, no matter if over the phones or in-person, that person gets 100% of my attention, absolutely no BS … and pretty much every time, they listen attentively to whatever I recommend and then thank me for it and happily move in the direction I point them in.
And this communication style isn’t exclusive to Marketing or Sales-type roles, either … it really comes down to being a leader and speaking like one.
I’ve trained Support Team Members and Account Managers on these communicative methods, too, and I’ve even had some people tell me how because of this “no fluff, no BS, be respectful of time and take care of business” approach, that calls that used to take them 15-minutes to resolve are now taking more like 5 or 6 minutes.
And this is good for everyone, really.
I mean, when you think about it, even though we all get 1,440 minutes per day, it seems like we’re all just getting busier and busier … and our mental bandwidth capacity is just pushed and pulled in multiple directions all day every day which is reducing our already limited attention spans.
So, being able to get in and get out in the most timely and efficient and professional and respectful manner is really … in my experience, anyway … the key to building real rapport and taking care of business in a mutually beneficial way for everyone involved.