Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get on really well with almost everyone, while others are constantly complaining about the way other people treat them? The answer probably likes in the flexibility of their communication system.
I used to have a very fixed idea about how people who liked me would communicate – it included smiles, positive words, and general encouragement (all good things, by the way). The problem with my inflexibility in this area was that if someone was pre-occupied and didn’t really notice me one day I’d think I must have offended them which made me feel bad, and try to make things right.
As I studied and practiced Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) I realised that the problem wasn’t that I had an overpowering desire to be liked – the real problem was that I had such limited flexibility in my communications that I couldn’t really distinguish between people who were pre-occupied and people who didn’t like me.
We all have some people around us who we genuinely dislike and disagree with, but we also have a much a much wider group of people with whom we just ‘don’t really feel comfortable’ – and this is mostly a question of flexibility in communication.
Glass, Perspex, and Rejection Which is stronger: – glass or perspex? Most people in my Confident Closing workshops will say glass – although the engineering / practical types will ask questions about thickness and treatments. Theoretically it’s true – glass is the stronger substance, but it’s not as resilient as perspex. Resilience is a key characteristic in communication and relationships.
Because glass is brittle, if you put enough weight and pressure on it – it’s going to break. Whereas the perspex has got some flexibility and so it’s actually going to be able to withstand more pressure.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business owner, or just want better social relationships you need to become more like the perspex than glass if you want to survive and thrive. You can guarantee that challenges will come your way at one point or another. If you’re flexible, you’re able to deal with the situation more congruently, more resourcefully.
Communicating So That Others Hear You
When you focus your communication on the other person, you’ll quickly realise the truth of the Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) principle that says, “The person or the system with the most flexibility will be the one that controls the system.” If you want to control the outcome of your conversations and sales meetings then you have to able and willing to respond appropriately in any given situation. This means you have to be flexible in your use of communication tools – not tied to a script or even an outcome, but focused on the other person.
When you focus on your prospect, or your client and really listen to their communications – the words they use, their gestures, and tone of voice – you’ll pick up the cues you need to close more deals. In some cases you’ll realise that your product or service isn’t appropriate for them, or that they’re just humouring you and that’s fine too, because the quicker you pick that up, the faster you can get out of there, and the less time you’ll waste.
What Do I Mean When I Talk About “Flexibility in Communication”?
We all have a preferred style of communication based on our filters [link to post]. It doesn’t mean that this is the only way we communicate, it just means it’s our preferred style – and that style includes our choice of words, the speed at which we speak, and the gestures and tones we use. The more we can use matching and mirroring to reflect the style preferred by the person we’re talking to, the more likely we both are to come away from our interaction feeling understood.
Flexibility involves understanding our own preferred communication style, and become observant when we are around others so that we can become aware of their preferred style of communication. The more we do this, the more we will find that others like and understand us, and we like and understand them.