Contrary to popular television shows, FBI agents are the most effective when they create stronger bonds with the people in their investigations. Beating people into submission makes for a good action movie scene, but it’s not an agent’s first response when they face an obstacle or roadblock.

Brute force and ignorance can only take you so far; interviews, not interrogations, still remain the FBI’s primary investigative tool. Face-to-face conversations create stronger bonds of trust and understanding.

To be truly successful in today’s competitive marketplace, you must also learn how to create stronger bonds with the people around you. Communication must be crystal clear if you want to construct your business on a strong foundation.

Here are tips on you can create stronger bonds:

1. SHUT UP AND LISTEN

I live in Marin County, California where liberal helicopters parents enthusiastically mint the next generation of  Snowflakes (precious children who find their self-esteem damaged when criticized.) Trump supporters are labeled as deplorable blue collar workers, ignorant, uneducated, and racist.

But wait—when I engage in conversations with people in my community, I find that there are many smart people in Marin County who support Trump. I also find that they are not deplorables, blue collar workers, ignorant, uneducated, or racist. Some of my colleagues live in a bubble where they assume everyone thinks like they do. They continue to preach and rant when they really need to just shut up and listen.

I listen to my neighbors, and when I do, they talk. In the process, stronger bonds are created. Trust is built, slowly but surely.

TIP: Listen to what people have to say and give them an opportunity to express their opinions. Have the mental toughness to control your emotions, thoughts, and behavior. Do not preach at them or judge them. Instead, let them feel your sincerity.

2. ENGAGE IN CONVERSATIONS, NOT ARGUMENTS

Heineken recently blew away viewers with their ad that puts people from opposite sides of an issue in face-to-face conversations. Those conversations led to a powerful message—appreciation and strong bonds can exist between people who have polar opposite views on a political issue or current event.

The reason is simple: we long to be seen, heard, and understood. FBI agents engage in conversations because they’re a powerful way to meet that basic need. A need that is unmet in many of today’s relationships. Conversations create levels of intimacy because we are connecting with another human being.

TIP: Conversations are a key component of intimacy and connection. It means you need to respect the person across from you even if you do not agree with them.

3. ACTIVELY LISTEN

Actively listening to a suspect accused of supporting and aiding a terrorist organization does not mean that the conversation will be easy. It does mean that it will help an agent move through the conversation more effectively.

Active listening helps create stronger bonds because the other person is aware that you are fully present. It doesn’t mean that you will know the right thing to say or the best way to respond. Agents are good listeners because they can sit with the discomfort of an awkward moment or an emotional outburst without judgment or retaliation.

TIP: If you are having a difficult conversation with a person, well-honed listening skills will help you move through it more effectively because those skills are allowing you to really hear the person’s story. Acknowledge what the person said. Do not criticize but be honest in your response. This is how to create stronger bonds.

4. NOTICE FEELINGS

In my interview training courses, I was taught to pay special attention when a suspect expresses a feeling. This was reinforced by my spiritual direction studies at San Francisco Theological Seminary. People are the most vulnerable and honest when they talk about their feelings.

Customers and team members may find it difficult, or even unprofessional, to express emotions. Instead, they often skirt around what they are truly feeling about an issue or situation. This means you will need to pay attention to words freighted with emotion or the needs they are experiencing.

TIP: Practice noticing when and how people express their feelings, in what context,which words they use, and the non-verbal hints that indicate an emotion or feeling. You will be more prepared when you have a difficult conversation later down the line.

© 2017 LaRae Quy. All rights reserved.

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