So I told a lie, I said that ‘Communicating Like A Boss’ was my first book…..
Well, I was just looking through my old archives and found a book on ‘Phone Rapport’ that I wrote in 2011. Below is the first 70% or so of the book, I hope you like it.
And if you want the full PDF, shoot me an email and Ill send it to you ASAP.
Why is Phone Rapport Important?
At around the age of 11 I started Rob’s Odd Jobs. This little business venture was to take my suburb by storm. I offered lawn mowing and car washing, two jobs that any young child can do. The plan was every one in my street would call me through the week to book a time on the weekend for me to come and mow their lawn and wash their car. I knew as a kid that this would be an easy business that I could just start and every thing would simply work and I would make money. The first thing I did was put a simple flyer in every mail box in my street. From there I knew it was time to start calling around to every one in the suburb as well. Now I don’t remember every having a fear of “cold calling” as a child but I do know that it is one of the biggest issues with small and medium business today. As a young boy this simply didn’t exist. I just picked up the phone and started communicating what I was passionate about to people. This simple act of calling people and communicating worked a charm. I found that while I was interested I had lawns to mow and cars to wash. And as it has turned out, this was my first introduction to creating phone rapport, though I had no idea at the time.
Fast forward to now, many jobs, many businesses and many phone calls later I have found that, when talking on the phone, it can often be one sided for most people. When they make a phone call the person on the other end of the line misses the message.
I think of every person that has had to call a help desk to get support on a issue, weather telecommunications or IT support. I think almost all of us can recall a time where we wanted to hang up (or actually hung up) or even tell them to get stuffed.
There is so often a breakdown of communication when it comes to talking on the phone and it is the intention of this book to teach you the skills and tools you need to have the best possible chance of your message been heard over the phone. I believe it is my responsibility to help everyone that has to do business over the phone have the best change of getting their message across. It is my job to teach you how to build phone rapport.
Rapport = Connection.
This book will teach you how to create a deeper level of connection with people you are talking to on the phone.
I will teach you the specific skills of phone Rapport as well as look at other techniques and strategies to get the most out of every phone conversation you have, weather it be with a colleague, client, partner or friend.
What is phone Rapport?
Phone Rapport could be defined as a a moment of connection, a physical, emotional or mental state of trust between you and another person. Rapport is where you truly hear the other person; they are responsive to you and can hear what you are saying.
Why Are We On The Phone?
I think smart phones are one of the biggest reasons we are on the phone these days, but this is not the type of communicating I am talking about. Not Facebook, not twitter etc. I am talking about, why are we talking on the phone? We are on the phone talking to our family, our friends or something to do with work. Why are you making phone calls? Who do you normally call (work or play)? In the context of work, these are some of the key reasons we are on the phone:
– Sales calls
– Cold calling
– Booking appointments
– Working with clients
– Helping people
– Delivering training
– Working on a help desk
– Ordering supplies
– Booking accommodation
– Paying bills
– Talking to a colleague
– Talking to a partner
So we have lots of reasons to be on the phone, and many more than could be listed here. The trick is to improve your ability to connect with the other person on the end of the line.
What Specifically Is Phone Rapport?
Phone rapport is made up of the way you talk on the phone, it is the words you are using and the way you use them. Phone Rapport includes the inflection in your voice, the speed you speak at and the message it self, that you are trying to communicate.
The way you communicate over the phone will include visual, auditory and kinaesthetic words and phrases as well as your own key words that you use.
Phone rapport is the process of actively listening to the person on the other end of the line, hearing their words and phrases as well as the specific sentences they say to you.
Phone rapport is about noticing those things, as well as matching the types of key words and phrases the other person uses, by speaking the same as the other person (same speed, pace and pitch). All things that you will learn about over the next few chapters.
We all communicate using different representational systems, using our five senses (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and touching) plus self talk (internal dialog) to view the world and things happening in it. Using these senses we make ‘sense’ of what happens around us, what we say to others and what others say to us.
Simplified, we use the following senses to listen and to communicate:
Thought we use some or all of these systems all of us have a primary one that we use. The one system we favour, and as you go through this book it becomes your responsibility to start to notice which system you use the most and the systems other people use.
Preferred Representational Systems
People who are primarily visual (V) tend to speak faster over the phone, they will stand or sit with there bodies erect and eyes up. The appearance of things can be important to them and they tend to be organized. They learn by associating images with their conversations. If communication is only verbal they are more challenged to recall the information, so they will wan to get a clear picture in their mind as to what you are talking about, they like to have pictures and diagrams to go with there conversations. They aren’t easily distracted by noise and they usually have to see something for it to capture their attention or interest. Once key trick when talking with a visual communicator over the phone is to email them information that relates to your conversation, so they can see what you are talking about.
People, who are primarily auditory breath from the middle of their chests, move their eyes from side to side, often talk to themselves and are easily distracted by noise. They learn and memorize by hearing information sequentially, they like to be told how they’re doing on a job and feel liked by hearing a certain tone of voice or words. They respond to sounds and consequently like music, talking on the phone and listening to the radio. If you are on the phone to a auditory person you will be in luck, all it may take is the phone conversation to meet them where they are at, so long as what you have to say ‘sounds right’ to them.
Auditory Digital (Ad)
People who are primarily auditory digital are often listening to inner dialogue in their heads, they make decisions using a list of criteria and they can use any or all of the other representational systems but are interested in something when it makes sense to them. A AD person is the one that is going to ask you hundreds of questions, they will want all the details and if you miss one small thing they will pick up on it. You might find they spend a lot of time listening to your pitch with little to no feedback, it does not mean they are not listening to you, it means they are measuring what you are saying against what they thing is important.
People who are primarily kinaesthetic generally breathe from the bottom of their lungs, so their stomach visibly moves up and down, they may move and speak slowly and respond to touch and physical rewards, they learn and memorize by doing. Something has to feel right for them to be interested. These are the people you cut off and try and finish their sentences for them. This is going to break rapport with them very quick, when connecting with a kinaesthetic person you need to take a moment to slow down, listen and let them finish their sentence. When talking with a K person you want to get them to a point of imagining acting out what you are talking about, if they can be enabled to ‘feel’ what you are talking about, you will have a better chance of connecting with them.
Worth an honourable mention are tastes and smells, never really noted as primary representational systems, as they only process very specific information. Still can be relevant with our ever growing food and wine culture, and in the right context will be key to building a connection with some one, especially if you are talking about a new release of wine to your prospect customers. Neither olfactory nor gustatory will be referenced pass this section of your phone rapport book.
The olfactory system is the sensory system used for olfaction, or the sense of smell. Though not related to eye accessing cues, is apart of peoples communication, in certain contexts. You will find over time there is a percentage of people that will communicate using words that relate to smell. The use of olfactory language and references can easily be noticed by the comments people make when they smell a perfume that reminds them of something or some one. You will also find there are industries that people work in the mean their olfactory language is far more developed than others, people that work in the food industry or are fragrance testers.
The gustatory system is the sensory system for the sense of taste. Like the olfactory system there is no eye accessing cue for the system. How ever you will see it present in the language of people that deal with taste in their every day lives, most often people that deal with food, they not only find it important to create beautiful ‘visual’ dishes, they are wedded to the taste of the food. Similar to the olfactory system it is not very prevalent in communication.
Preferred Representational System Test
As you know we tend to favour one representational system over another. This activity will give you and indication as to which system you favour, focusing on visual, auditory, auditory digital and kinaesthetic as these are the primary systems people will use. As this is a e-Book you might need to do some writing out to see your result of this test, or you can go to www.robertway.com.au/2015/11/06/preferred-representational-system-questions/ to complete a similar activity there.
Write a number next to every statement for each question. Using 1-4 for each.
4 = Almost always; 3 = Often; 2 = Sometimes; 1 = Almost never
I make a choice when:
___ It feels right to me
___ I hear it, and it sounds right to me
___ I see it, and it looks great
___ I review it, and it fits my criteria
When discussing and issue, I am persuaded by:
___ How convincing the other person sounds
___ Really seeing the other persons point of view
___ How reasonable the individual makes the point
___ My own gut feeling
When I meet someone for the first time, I am impressed by:
___ The appearance of the person
___ How he or she makes me feel
___ How articulate or intelligent the individual is
___ If what the person says rings true to me
I generally respond to:
___ Sounds, and I am easily distracted by noise
___ Interesting facts, and I am easily distracted by my own thoughts
___ Sensations, and I am easily distracted by the way my body feels
___ Colours, and I am easily distracted by sights around me
When I like a proposal, I tend to say things like:
___ “Sounds good”
___ “Makes sense”
___ “Got it”
___ “Looks good”
From here write out the number values from the previous page in the same sequence you wrote them.
1. __K 2. __A 3. __V 4. __A 5. __A
__A __V __K __Ad __Ad
__V __Ad __Ad __K __K
__Ad __K __A __V __V
Next, record each number in the corresponding box and then add each column.
Finally the scores in each column will give the relative preference for each of the four major representational systems. The highest total will be your favoured representational system. One should also know when ever doing a personality test or activity like this one that these results can vary depending on what you are doing at the time, the sort of work you are doing or activities you are undertaking. As you learn more about rapport and begin to hear more of what people say, and defiantly when you finish this book you should redo the activity to see if there are any changes.
Words and Phrases
This section is a simple section, but a very important one. The words and phrases people use in conversation are going to give you a clear idea of the representational system a person preferrers. We will focus directly on the types of words or phrases you might hear from each representational system. It is your job to start listening our for the use of each type of word and to start building a picture of what it is like to listen for these different words in conversations.
We use many different words and phrases in every day conversation, what we are focusing on are the key words that indicate a person’s primary representational system. Think of them as a road marker that shows us how the person we are talking to views the world. If you begin to hear these words you know you are starting to hear a person. Most people speak using their own words and wonder why some one doesn’t understand them. They might say have you not seen the mind map I put up, with the response been I never heard you talk about it. Or it could be “she never cuddles me, she doesn’t love me” with a response of “but I tell him all the time”.
One of the reasons there can be a breakdown in communication is miss matching of these words and phrases in conversation. As per my examples, a person might be using auditory words while another using visual words. Something so simple can be enough for the message to get lost. So the goal over the next few pages is to become aware of the words people are using and begin to use the words other people use in conversation. This is your first step to building rapport with someone over the phone, so check out the table below for examples of visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, auditory digital, olfactory and gustatory (even if only a short list for O and G) words people might use.
Attention to Detail
Having attention to detail in every phone conversation is a key skill to mastering rapport. The goal of this chapter is to focus your ability to listen, to hear changes and to observe the subtle shifts that can occur in a phone conversation.
When I talk about attention to detail I am talking about your ability to detect minute changes in a person. Humans have millions of years of evolution behind their ability to notice small changes in people, indicating that something has changed. All for the purpose of survival, obviously most of us are not conscious of this process. It just seems to happen to us and we trust that gut instinct. What I want you to do is become consciously a wear of what is a unconscious process you already do.
Have you ever heard some one tell a story or give you information that you simply did not believe, or you may have a friend that you just know from the sound of their voice that they have fallen for another guy? Or maybe when you talk to your mum you know when you are in trouble for spending your money on that thing you just bought. Maybe it is the way your boss calls out your name that you know you are in for it.
It is thought our attention to detail that we know that this or that tone over the phone means something good or bad, if we have lost the sale or not. So the goal over the next few pages is to bring into our conscious awareness all these things you have never noticed you knew.
Personally I found it quite a exciting game to spend time listening to the subtle changes and exchanges that happen over the phone, it is a fun process to begin to truly hear what people have been saying and the different indicators that have been precent. It is also important in the early stages of learning attention to detail that you just observe what people are saying and the different inflections and indicators that pop up over the phone. The issue that often comes up for people when analysing others is, they start assigning meaning based off the smallest amount of information. It is important to go through the processes of gathering information about the person you are talking with. Begin this process of attention to detail by just noticing the changes that occur from moment to moment. Once you can begin to notice more and more changes in a person over the phone you will then be able to assign more and more meaning to what the changes mean. When we assign meaning too soon to peoples words they are often based on what we think the words mean to us and not what they mean to the other person. Your goal should be to get a strong foundation of attention to detail so that from moment to moment you can identify a change in some one and truly hear the words and language that they are using. From there then look at finding the meaning in the changes that happen in a person from moment to moment.
In the previous chapter we looked at key words and phrases people might use while talking, this a great place to begin practicing attention to detail. Start to listen for the types of words people are using over the phone. Begin by spending one day listening out for kinaesthetic words and then visual words and so on until you have the Attention to detail to hear the different words and phrases that people use.
The next thing to start listening for is the different inflections in the voice, do they use a commanding tonality, a questioning tonality or do they make a statement. To understand a persons tonality inflection more than this brief statement, check out a BLOG on just that topic (www.robertway.com.au/2015/11/16/how-you-say-it/). Next, begin to notice the different speeds that people talk at, noting that visual people will speak much faster than kinaesthetic people do. This means you should notice they types of words match the speed of talking.
Make it your job to hear these things over the phone. It is also important to pay attention to your own feelings that are occurring in the moment as what you are feeling and thinking will also give you an indication of what is going on in the exchange. If you can make note of positive vs. negative feelings and see how that relates to their primary system, vs. yours.
What am I listening for?
Still not 100% sure what you should be listening for? In the table below is a list of most of the different things you should start to notice over the phone.
The meaning of your communication will change depending on the tone you use when speaking. It will affect how the person hears you and what they think of what you have said. Tonality will go up, neutral or down.
The diagram below gives will give you and idea of what you are listening for in a person’s tonality.
Word = Question
Word →→→→ Word →→→→ Word
Word →→→→ Word →→→→ Word Word = Statement
Word →→→→ Word →→→→ Word
Word = Command
As well as listening out for the above things you can also carryout the different activities below to start to hone your ability to have attention to detail.
Recall a Conversation Activity
The reason for this activity is to notice how much information you have actually heard over the phone. It will develop your ability to pay more attention to what is happening on the phone. What you want to focus on is your ability to recall every thing that happened in a previous conversation.
To get the best possible results, find your self a quiet room, sit down with your eyes closed and complete the following process:
Remember the last phone conversation you had;
Start at the beginning of the conversation;
What was the first thing the person said?
Play the entire phone conversation over in your mind like a movie (going from scene to scene), where needed rewind and replay different parts of the conversation;
While going through this process notice the following;
Why had the client called?
Was there a problem?
Did you come up with a solution?
What key words did the person used?
What types of words did the person use?
Did you feel like there was a connection between you and the client?
Did you notice the different types of inflection in the person’s voice?
Review your results of the above thinking process and see if you can notice any other details from the conversation. Write down all the different things you noticed.
Once you have completed this activity make a point in subsequent conversations to notice more that is happening in a conversation, you should begin to hear more of what people are saying, aim to hear more and more of the words, phrases and key words people use. Remember the purpose of this activity is to start to hone your ability to have attention to detail. Mastering this skill will strengthen your ability to create rapport with a person over the phone. You might even like to review each conversation you have directly after you have finished it, giving you instant feedback on how it went.
Identifying VAKAd Language Activity
This activity will help you hone your ability to identify what representational system a person might be. You will be listening for and recording any visual (V), Auditory (A), Kinaesthetic (K) and Auditory Digital (Ad) language you hear a person use over the phone.
To complete this activity, have a note pad and pen next to the phone, and with your next phone call complete the following steps:
– Write down the person’s name
– Write down any key words the person uses. EG. Dude, cool, fun, great etc
– Write down any VAKAd language that the person uses
– Write down any other indicators you notice that are in the ‘what am I listening for’ table above.
The intention with this activity is to get you listening for the different indicators that are present in any one phone conversation; this will hone your ability to have solid attention to detail. Practice this process as many times as you like until you begin to hear more and more. You should get to a point where you start to hear the key words and phrases and not need to write them down.
Mapping a Phone Conversation Activity
This activity will teach you how to map out your entire phone conversation and give you a clear picture of what you client is looking for as well as give you their words that they have been using. This activity will require strong attention to detail, a fast writing hand and sharp ear. You will be listening to every thing that they will be saying……….
If you want to get the rest of the eBook, please let me know.
Rock and Roll
P.S. What’s the one thing you don’t do, that would cause the most positive change in your life?