The Art of Conversation for Leaders: Building Rapport and Deepening Relationships

The Art of Conversation for Leaders: Building Rapport and Deepening Relationships

In the business world, the word 'LOVE' is rarely used, yet that's exactly what most people really want - we ALL want to be loved - so how do you become a leader in expressing LOVE in a business context?  It boils down to one word...INTEREST. 

In sales as well as customer service, sincere interest is the best
ingredient in a successful relationship. 
Building rapport and strengthening relationships is all about expressing your interest and caring. When you take the lead in terms of getting to know someone, you consciously set the intention to discover their concerns as well as passions, and to help them to feel heard and acknowledged. You take leadership in building a bridge of friendship with them. 

So, how do you express your interest specifically? How can you consciously begin to practice this 'love' for others in a business context? 

One way you can express your interest in others is by asking open-ended questions. This means your taking responsibility to deepen a conversation through continuing to encourage others to reveal more about their concerns, thoughts, and feelings. 

To get to know someone better, you need to express your interest - and that means probing deeper with successive questions which follow their train of thought. 

So, here's an example of how you could develop and deepen a conversation expressing your interest using open-ended questions. 

You: So, how's it going, Paul? 
Paul: Oh, not bad...been a hectic day. 
You: Really? What's been happening? 
Paul: Oh, I've got four new contracts - which is great, but I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with it all. 
You: What do you find overwhelming? 
Paul: Well, I suppose it's the pressure of feeling like I need to stay on top of everything without dropping the ball. 
You: How do you handle the pressure? 
Paul: Well, fortunately, I go walking in the mornings which seems to help. 
You: Really, where do you go walking? 
Paul: Cornwall Park - I love it there. 
You: What do you love about it? 
Paul: I love that you can see sheep roaming all around - a bit of country in the middle of the city...I love the peace and quiet, and I love the trees. 

Enjoy getting to know your clients, colleagues, friends, and family members. If you consciously practice asking open-ended questions which follow others' 'train of thoughts', you'll develop the trust, goodwill, and warm feelings that help them and you 'feel the love'. Plus, as an extra benefit, your business will get a boost as a result! 

Sally Mabelle, ‘The Voice of Leadership’ Specialist.  -  Inspiring clear, confident, and connected communication for personal and cultural transformation.