To be effective and productive in our relationships with our customers and colleagues, we must build these relationships based on mutual trust.

One of the most useful models for understanding trustworthiness and relationship building is that of Dr. Stephen Covey.  His “Emotional Bank Account” between people, in which the trust between people and the strength and effectiveness of their relationship reflects the balance that exists in the emotional bank account between them.

Emotional Bank Account - Deposits
Some common verbal and non-verbal communications and behaviors that strengthen and build relationships include, keeping promises, patience and loyalty.

Seeking first to understand, then to be understood, clarifying expectations, giving praise and showing respect to our customers and colleagues is what building and strengthening relationships is all about.

Five of the most powerful deposits we can make are:
  1. Kindness—Kindness includes acts of courtesy, support and helpfulness.
  2. Keeping Promises—The relationship between promises and trust is obvious.  Promises include commitments of any sort, even commitments that we may consider casual and not to be taken seriously.  As we keep our promises, people learn that we can be counted on
  3. Honoring Expectations—Relationships depend on expectations.  When expectations are clear and people observe them, relationships tend to run smoothly.
  4. Loyalty—We are loyal to people when we assume and speak well of them when are not in their presence.
  5. Apologies—We all make mistakes.  We vary only in how willing we are to admit to them and to make amends.  These deposits, which we call apologies means being willing to admit our mistakes and make up for them.

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Developing Effective Communication
To improve our customers’ and colleagues’ relations, we must develop effective rapport building communication and listening skills.  In order to communicate more effectively we need to recognize the positive and negative cues we send and their consequences.

Communicating is a two-way street.  It is about conveying impressions (presenting ourselves to others) and about understanding (listening to and observing) others.  When we are communicating there are a variety of situations, such as:

  • Giving instructions and relaying information.
  • Helping people deal with their feelings.
  • Drawing people out, getting to know them.
  • Being supportive and asking for information.

Our communication skills involve a lot more than just what we have to say.  Only 7% of our communication cues come from the words we use, while 38% come from vocal cues (how we say the words) and 55% of the cues come from visual images or body language.

Positive verbal cues include, being honest and sincere, using direct statements of thoughts and beliefs.

For good vocal cues, use a firm, in control, relaxed, positive tone in your voice.

Good examples of positive visual communication cues are direct-eye to eye contact and a well-balanced and erect posture.

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Verbal Cues
Changing the words we choose to use can make a big difference in the impression we convey.

Desirable  Undesirable
I will be glad to I’ll have to
I will I’ll try
That is a challenging opportunity That’s a problem
I am the I’m only just the
Here is how I can help You’ll have to ask someone else
Let’s give it a chance It’ll never work
How can I do a better job for you? Is everything okay?
Which approach is better for you? You’ll have to
What questions do you have? Do you have any questions?
Truth be told Let me be honest with you
Have you considered Why don’t you
It works well when It’s necessary
I am unable to because I can’t
Can you tell me about the difficulty? What’s your problem?

The four A’s of Abundance Mentality are, Acknowledging, Appreciating, Affirming and Assuring.  These principles of communication concern, relating with and toward people (abundance mentality) rather than against and away from people (scarcity mentality).

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Effective Listening
To understand our customers and colleagues better, we must learn to listen to them effectively.  Effective listening is as important as our verbal, vocal and visual communication skills.  Therefore it becomes very important to understand the other person’s point of view.

A fundamental principle of human nature is the desire to be appreciated.  Listening is one of the highest forms of appreciation you can show another person and typically the other person will find you a “fascinating conversationalist.”

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Effective Teamwork
We must understand the value of effective teamwork as it affects the experience of the customer, the productivity of our company and our own satisfaction as members of the team.

Creating an effective work environment is very important to our company.  Many aspects of our work environment influence the experience, satisfaction, productivity and ability to make a difference within our organization.  The only difference between ordinary and extra ordinary is that little extra.

The environment within our organization influences the ability to provide Excellent Customer Service.  It also determines the moral and our morale influences the attitudes and behavior.

The elements of a positive and effective working environment would be within our operational policies and guidelines, understanding management and the opportunities to become involved in increased responsibility.

Developing and maintaining interpersonal relationships with our colleagues is very important to us.  In many respects, colleagues are very much like customers and should be treated as such.

We depend on each other to get our work done just as we depend on the customer for business.  Remember, a colleague can choose not support us in the same way as a customer can choose not to use our company.

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Achieving Interdependence
To improve teamwork within our organization, we must understand what teamwork is and how we must work through the differences between us to achieve it.

One-way we might ensure our team is strong and effective is to have a clear sense of mission and purpose within the company.  The company must have fair and consistently applied policies and procedures for operating.

The key to effective interdependence is being a good team player.  Team players relate to customers and colleagues by being cooperative and balancing their own interests with those of others.  During stressful situations team players do this without being asked.  Remember, there is no “I” in team.

A great team player is open-minded and nonjudgmental.  We can also count on a great team player to deliver on their account abilities.

T.E.A.M. stands for Together Each Achieves More.

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