Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Communication: Mastering The Art Of Communication (part 4)


"What is most important thing to you about X?" (Buying a house, choosing a restaurant to eat at, your job, etc.)
How do you know when you have gotten X? (How do you know when you are happy? How do you know that you have the right house? How do you know that you have gotten a good deal on buying a car? etc.)
What's the next most important thing to you about X?
What else is important to you about X?
Until then, here are a few more distinctions that can make a difference for you now!
It is probably fair to say that most people enjoy talking about themselves. This is one reason the values determination model is so effective. You are asking people about their most highly valued feelings and thoughts. This is an excellent way to augment the development of rapport in communication. Rapport is the perceived affinity between two or more people.
Rapport is the perceived affinity between two or more people.
The ability to build and maintain rapport in communication is one of the key skills of a master communicator. One of the greatest examples of rapport building is found in the New Testament. Notice how the apostle Paul uses rapport to prepare his listeners for what he wants to communicate to them.
The setting is this: Paul is in Athens, Greece. Athens has a largely pagan culture. The city is filled with idols and temples to mythological gods. As a Jew, this is repugnant to Paul. Some of the local philosophers have challenged Paul to a debate. They bring him to the infamous Mars Hill. It is here that we pick up Paul's communication mastery...
"Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious." (This immediately breaks their skeptical pattern of thinking and creates an instant bridge for Paul to metaphorically walk on.)
"...for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you."
(Paul uses his persuasive communication skills brilliantly. The altar is one of THEIR objects of worship. The God he wants to discuss is one of THEIR gods. He is not going to talk about some new god!)
"God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands." (God MADE the world, he tells them. He's OBVIOUSLY much too BIG to live in a human temple!)
Paul continues his discourse, explaining that God gives us life, our breath, and a place to live. He explain that God needs nothing from us.
"...for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of YOUR OWN POETS HAVE SAID, 'For we are also his offspring."
"Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man's devising."
Paul once again maintains rapport by returning to citing the Greeks authorities. Building rapport is one step. Maintaining rapport and bridging into the message you wish to tell is another.
"Truly, these times of IGNORANCE God overlooked, but NOW commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man he has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead."
Paul has reached the crux of his message and has held the attention of his audience. It was the rapport that Paul built with the antagonistic philosophers that is the key to his successful communication here.
Rapport is much more than verbal compliments of course. It is the non-verbal behavior that is involved as well. Non-verbal behavior that enhances the building of rapport can be found in my book, Psychology of Persuasion.
To Be Continued...

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