It always amazes me when I meet someone who has difficulty communicating in our industry.
The recruitment industry is ABOUT communicating. We communicate with clients, candidates and colleagues in order to put the right person into the right opportunity, yet so few of us have had any kind of training in the art of communication. I have spent the past few years studying different ways of communicating effectively and believe there is a strong correlation between effective communication and success.
The communication model
When a message is delivered to me, my brain ﬁlters the message and attaches it to a similar neuron in the back part of my brain. My state then changes and so does my behavior, all because I have “interpreted” the message in a certain way.We all do this every second of every day and it is one of the reasons why sometimes communication can go so wrong. Have you ever had a situation that didn’t work out the way you expected? If so, then you need to take a look at how you interpreted the event.
What is effective communication?
Effective communication will mean different things to different people. Some love to tell a story, some prefer a very direct approach whilst others love the detail. For recruiters
it could mean the ability to persuade and inﬂuence. For managers it could mean the ability to get the best performance from staff by persuading and inﬂuencing the outcome required.
Effective communication is a learned skill. I believe it focuses on the other person and delivering succinct, speciﬁc and generous messages. Let’s look at the keys to successful communication in more detail.
1. Establishing rapport
Wikipedia deﬁnes rapport as “being in sync or on the same wavelength as the person you are communicating with”. The basis of rapport is that when people arelike each other, they like each other. If you have ever trained with me, you will have heard me say “people buy from people they like, people buy from people like them”. This simple statement is the basis to any career in sales. You will communicate best with people when you communicate to them in a way in which they feel comfortable. In fact, when true rapport is established, you will be communicating with them at an unconscious level.
Communication is 7% words, 38% tonality and 55% physiology. Rapport is established by matching and mirroring and is essential to building trust in any relationship. To build rapport successfully, you must be consciously aware of what the other person is doing and saying and also what they aren’t saying. Here are the steps to successfully build rapport:
a. Actively listen to the other person.
b. Match an individual’s physiology – copy their gestures, eye contact and posture.
c. Match their voice, tone tempo, quality and volume. Match key words that they use.
d. Match their breathing.
e. Match the size of the pieces of information they deliver. If they use big picture language, use the same or if they are detail orientated, get into detail.
f. Match their common experiences, ﬁnd common ground.
g. Acknowledge their opinions.
2. Succinct, speciﬁc and generous communication
We all know people who are very direct communicators and also those whom takeforever to deliver their message. Because in our line of business, our product is people, we need to ensure that all of our communication is understood, whether written or verbal.
When we pad our sentences with extra words, we dilute the effectiveness of the message. The person we are communicating with can lose the message and our communication can break down. To be succinct, you need to think carefully before you deliver your message and make every word count.
As well as being succinct you also need to be speciﬁc so that the person you are communicating with understands the message. It is very important to give all the relevant information to back up the point you are making.
Being generous in communication is about ﬁnding common ground with the person you are communicating with – acknowledge their opinions, even if they are different to yours.
3. Useful and interesting conversations
Often, when I am coaching “at the desk” I ask the consultant whether the conversation they just had with that client or candidate was useful or interesting.Useful conversations gain outcomes, whereas interesting conversations don’t. Practice asking yourself, “what was the outcome of that conversation?” If no outcome was gained then I would argue that the conversation wasn’t useful.
4. Be a great listener
Great listeners enter into a conversation with empathy. They listen for words, tonality and physiology (non-verbal signals). Great listeners use rapport building techniques
to build rapport at an unconscious level. To be a great listener you need to accept that everyone views the world differently. Listen without judgment.
Practice makes a better communicator Building your communication skills is an ongoing process. Start by practicing one technique at a time until it becomes habit (21 days) and then add another technique to your communication toolkit.Consider some communication coaching with an NLP trained coach or learn more about how to communicate via reading or audio programs. Your communication skills will have a direct impact on your success as a recruiter or HR professional, so invest in developing them!
Until next time - be the best you can be. Gaynor