Empathy Before Solutions Part 3

In Part 1 I talked about the principle that makes the difference in the quality of communication: seek first to understand, then seek to be understood. In Part 2 I revealed why knowing the principl alone isn’t enough, and the 3 distinct ways you need to know how the prinicple works, and how each area affects the principle differently.

In this part I’m going to share with you some useful tips and strategies that will help you to build strong rapport by increasing your listening skills and ability to understand someone.

The first 2, which are the most basic and important are:

1) Shut Up

Yup. No kidding, yeah? Ever been interrupted just when you were really getting into your train of thought, or wanted to say something really important? Didn’t feel spectacular, did it?

When you feel the urge to pipe in with a smart alecky comment, interrupt the conversation halfway or blurt out what you had for dinner last night, stop.

When you give someone the silence to reveal themselves in, you’ll be surprised just how much it helps draw out of the person.

2) Focus

So obvious it’s easily forgotten. Focus on the person right in front of you, not on the pretty girl or hunky guy (or both) walking right pass you, not on what you’re going to have for dinner later, or whether or not you should shell out for that shiny new iPod.

One way to easily train your focus is to pick one other aspect of their communication that you can pay attention to without being too distracted away from what they’re saying. You can pay attention to the tone of their voice as well, or their tempo, their gestures, body gestures, or a whole multitude of other things.

Advanced coaches will recognize this as a way to train yourself to listen to the whole other 93% of communication, only 7% of which is words.

3) Acknowledge the Other Person

The smallest gestures will say the most. Maintain eye contact, nod your head in reply to things you agree with, express your feelings with expressions or a few short words.

Demonstrating to the other person that you’re listening encourages them to express themselves more.

4) Reflect Back What They’ve Said

Pick something they’ve said and say it back to them in your own way.

Example:

Friend: My boss at work doesn’t seem to care. He doesn’t listen and he always jumps to the wrong conclusions!

Me: He doesn’t sound like he cares one bit!

5) Interpret Gently

Offer your own interpretations of what they’ve said after you feel you’ve heard enough, always willing to be wrong and never insisting your interpretation is right.

6) Put Together What They’ve Told You

After a while of listening, it helps to summarize what they’ve told you. It helps build rapport because they realize you’ve really been listening, and it helps you keep your focus fresh by reviewing what you’ve heard.

7) Ask

If you’re not sure of what they’re saying, ask! When seeking first to understand, the worst thing to do would be to pretend you know something you have absolutely no idea about.

8) Support

I once attended a talk in which the presenter invited the audience to participate, and quickly shot down opinions he didn’t agree with by unleashing an empthatic ‘You’re wrong sir!’. You could hear the audience slamming shut a mile away. Needless to say the talk was a disaster.

Remember, you’re seeking to understand, even if you don’t agree. This requires you to put aside your own model of the world for a moment and step into theirs. At this point put aside judgements of wrong or right, and just recognize that if you’re feeling uncomfortable it’s because the perspective is new to you.

9) Imagine Yourself In The Other Person’s Shoes

This might be easy or hard for you to do on the flow as you’re listening, depending on how much you already do it. For me, it’s a little difficult, as I’m still picking up the skill, but I know some people who can process up to 4 different perspectives as they listen to other people.

As the other person is telling you about their situation, their thoughts and feelings, imagine yourself being in the same situation, having the same thoughts and feelings. Notice what it’s like, notice the added sense of empathy it gives you, and also notice what new insights you get as a result. You can also reflect these insights back to the other person to help you build rapport.

Sounds Tough?

Some of these tips might sound tough, but trust me, when you get the first 2 down, to just shut up and focus, they become much easier. You just have to let the other person know they have the time and a safe space to truly reveal themselves.

Remember the core NLP maxim: resistance is a sign of lack of rapport. If you find yourself creating resistance in any way, you’ll know that’s the time to back up and start building rapport again.

21 Responses to “Secrets of Changing Minds: Giving Hypnotic Commands”

  1. Yezhong
    September 14 2006 at 5:23 pm #

    Well now let’s hope this help clear up the air about hypnosis.
    It’s nothing sneaky or improper. In fact, there’s lots of fun involved! (esp when u see how well it works out) :)

  2. Alvin Soon
    September 14 2006 at 9:11 pm #

    Yup yup, my fellow Life Coach and trance junkie :D I think we’ve both been pretty lucky to have seen the myths of trance busted before our eyes and experienced its wonder first hand.

    Nice to see you back commenting here at LCB :)

  3. hypno101
    March 9 2007 at 8:47 pm #

    I wondered if you have read Derren Brown’s new book ? It has given me a lot of food for thought throwing a whole new light on the “hypnotic experience”.

    I once saw him live in UK, he is very well informed regarding goal setting and mind changing approaches. His views on organized religion are a real eye opener, not for the faint hearted!

    BTW Nice well thought out site. Well done!

  4. Geoff Dodd
    April 6 2007 at 9:22 pm #

    Hypnosis experience shines out like a strong light from your article: Secrets of Changing Minds. Thanks for showing ‘it’s going on all the time!’

  5. Brisbane Hypnotherapy Centre
    July 18 2008 at 10:25 am #

    Interesting article you got here. Some people may not know it, but when they are conversing with other people they may unconsciously be hypnotizing them.

  6. Glenn
    October 7 2008 at 1:01 pm #

    Great articles. I’m fascinated myself by conversational hypnosis and nlp’s use of structured, embedded commands in language.

  7. Hypnosis
    July 20 2009 at 9:31 pm #

    Secrets of Changing Minds excellent artical, being a nlp master practitioner we used embedded commands very easy to learn, Example would be as you read this artical im sure you will discover how easly you can learn. Simple but very effective as im sure you relize now.

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