How to build rapport at work

Not sure how to connect with a client or colleague? Learning to build rapport will help.

Rapport is like glue which holds human relationships together. Being in rapport involves making a positive connection. It creates a sense you’re the same page as someone else. Rapport gets things done. And a lack of rapport can be a barrier to effective communication.

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How to handle negative people

Bad attitudes can be infectious. So how do you stay immune?

Have you noticed how quickly bad attitudes can spread through a team? They seem far more contagious than good attitudes. And there’s a reason for this. Our brains are ‘wired’ to pick up emotions – in particular, emotions which signal something is wrong. Negativity is one of those emotions. But there are steps you can take to prevent yourself catching a team mate’s bad attitude.

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Four ways to say ‘no’

It’s a tiny word, but saying ‘no’ can seem a huge effort. Here’s how to say ‘no’ when you need to.

‘No, not now’

Sometimes you really want to say ‘yes’. You would be happy to help if only there was less on your plate. You really don’t want to miss out on that golden opportunity, if only you could fit it in. Be firm with yourself and honest with others. Let people know when you can accommodate their request, rather than saying ‘no’ outright.

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The power of ‘no’

‘No’ is one of the most powerful words in your vocabulary. Here’s why.

‘No’ prevents overload

If you’re the type of person who can’t say ‘no’, life is probably pretty hectic. What’s more, you’re probably doing a lot for everyone else and not much for you. And the likely result is that you feel stressed and over-stretched.

So remember – it’s simply not possible to do everything. Choose what you can do and then say ‘no’ to everything else. Saying ‘no’ to others means you say ‘yes’ to a stress-free life

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How to draw positive feedback from a critical boss

Leanne’s boss is heavy on the criticism but light on the praise. In fact, Leanne’s not even sure she’s doing anything right anymore. How can Leanne encourage her boss to tell her what she’s doing well?

This is a problem many people face at work. Here’s how we’d help Leanne deal with it. You can use the same process to encourage YOUR boss to mix a little positive in with the negative.

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Set limits on unsolicited advice

Fed up with unwanted words of wisdom? Here’s how to handle advice you don’t need to hear.

Some people use advice giving to control you or put you down. Whether it’s the office know-all pointing out your mistakes or a pessimistic co-worker raining on your parade, don’t allow them to continue. There are three steps you need to take when dealing with unwanted advice.

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Don’t let nasty comments get you down

Why do some people get a thrill from putting you down?

The answer is that they have low self-esteem. So don’t let their negativity get you down. These people only hold power over you because you’re uncomfortable about confronting them. Perhaps you’re not 100 per cent sure the remark was a dig. Or maybe you’re torn between wanting to burst into tears or telling them exactly what you think of them.

People who make biting remarks crave an audience. They rely on you listening passively. Don’t do it. Instead, respond assertively. When you challenge them, difficult people lose their hold over you immediately. Here’s how to do this calmly and resourcefully.

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Getting a side-tracker back on track

Fed up with digressions, diversions and delays? These tactics will help you keep your conversations on-topic.

Have a clear purpose

Sometimes conversations get side-tracked because people don’t know why they’re talking in the first place. Prepare for the conversation beforehand. What must be covered? What outcomes do you want? Note down the crucial points. Tell the other person your purpose early on.

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Issues focussed language

Good intentions are often scuppered by a poor choice of words.

Focussing on the issue rather than the person is a good start to resolving conflict. Here are some tips for doing this.

More ‘I’, less ‘You’

Sentences which start with ‘you’ often sound like an attack. Reframe sentences into ‘I’ statements to make them less personal and accusing. Say ‘I feel angry when meetings start late’. Avoid saying ‘you are always late’ or ‘I’m angry because you are late’ (a ‘you’ sentence thinly disguised).

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