Blogs > Intentional Insights > Build Strong Stakeholder Relationships Through These Three Social Intelligence Methods (Video and Podcast)

Jan 27, 2021

Build Strong Stakeholder Relationships Through These Three Social Intelligence Methods (Video and Podcast)

tags: leadership,decision making,wise decision making,leadership development,decision-making process,leaders,social intelligence

Form lasting connections to stakeholders and help them feel understood by using the three social intelligence methods of empathetic listening, echoing and mirroring, and building rapport. That's the key take-away message of this episode of the Wise Decision Maker Show, which describes how to build strong stakeholder relationships using 3 social intelligence methods.

Video: “Build Strong Stakeholder Relationships Through These Three Social Intelligence Methods”

Podcast: “Build Strong Stakeholder Relationships Through These Three Social Intelligence Methods”

Links Mentioned in Videocast and Podcast

  • Here’s the article: Build Strong Stakeholder Relationships Through These Three Social Intelligence Methods
  • The book Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters is available here
  • You are welcome to register for the free Wise Decision Maker Course


We'll talk about how to build strong stakeholder relationships. Building stakeholder relationships is incredibly important in order to get your job done, and actually in life as well. So it's whatever you want to accomplish, you want to figure out who your key stakeholders are, which previous episode or otherwise the decision maker shell talked about. And then you want to build effective stakeholder relationships. And you can do it using social intelligence. And I'll specifically talk about three social intelligence methods that you can use, and you should use, if you want to get those stakeholders on your side, and build those effective long term stakeholder relationships that will help you achieve whatever goals you're trying to pursue. Let's talk about social intelligence. What the heck is that? Social intelligence refers to a strategic capacity and ability to understand, grasp, evaluate, and then influence other people's emotions and relationships. What do you care about? Well, our emotions, fundamentally, is what determines our decisions, our behaviors, that are thoughts, even. So you want to appeal to people's emotions, you want to understand what other people's emotions are, and you want to be able to influence them. And of course, relationships, the interactions that people have with each other, that you have you to your stakeholder and that your stakeholders have to other folks, their own stakeholders, you want to be able to understand those and influence those as well. So that's what social intelligence is about. And we'll focus on these three methods on the emotions part, not so much on the relationships, well, to focus on the relationships between you and the stakeholders, not on the relationships between your stakeholder and their stakeholders. So talk about the emotions, how do you understand and evaluate their emotions and influence them? And then how do you influence and evaluate and influence your relationship with that stakeholder who you're targeting? Talk about three techniques, as I mentioned, so three key techniques, empathetic listening, echoing in mentoring, and building rapport, let's go depth into each of them. And I'll talk about why they're important and why you should do them and how you should do them. So why they're important, why you should do them, how you should do them and pathetic listening. What is that about? empathy. First of all, the first part of empathetic listening has to do with understanding other people's emotions, it's a skill, it's the ability to understand what other people feel. It's often confused with two other concepts, I want to make sure that we don't confuse them. Sympathy, meaning caring about what other people feel. That's a separate, distinct area. And you don't want to confuse that with empathy. Those are two distinct areas. And empathy has to do with understanding what other people feel. And you don't have to, at the same time, have a sense of concern about what they feel or have a sense of caring, that is sympathy. But empathy is a distinct thing. So just being very clear, it's about understanding, just that's what it's about. And it's not compassion, either. Compassion is expressing your concern for other people. So when you feel and express compassion, when we talk about compassion, it's about you showing other people that you care about how they feel. So that's, again, a distinct thing you have. So three things, we're talking about three things, we have empathy, understanding what other people feel sympathy, caring about what they feel, that's an internal thing within you, and compassion, showing them that you care about what they feel. So empathy is the first part of empathetic listening, when you're listening to other people, you want to focus on their emotions, because their emotions are really going to be driving their behaviors, their thought patterns, their decisions, and their relationships with. So listen to what they mean, not simply to what they say. We often focus too much on the content of what people are saying, I don't, we don't listen to the subjects, the crucial, crucial meaning behind what's going on. Why are they saying the things they're saying? What kind of emotions are pushing them? Are they anxious? Are they fearful? Are they excited? Are they joyous? Are they confused? Are they uncertain? There are various ways that our emotions drive us to say certain things. So you want to figure out what people mean? What is the emotional basis for what they're saying? So that's what you want to do, then that's when you're listening. That's a part of empathetic listening. But just as important, a part of empathetic listening is she Showing that you're listening. So you want to show them that you're listening not simply that you're just waiting to speak, there are too many people who are just waiting to speak. And it's so special when someone listens to you with an open heart, just listening to you and showing you that they're listening to you, because how do you show you have an open heart. Now, when people say, this is a person who can focus their whole attention on you, and listen to you with an open heart, that indicates that the person who's listening has the skills whether learned or naturally built instinctive skills, of demonstrating their concern with the other person demonstrating their empathetic listening. So when you've signaled attention, you want to signal attention when you're listening, both non verbally and verbally, you can signal non verbally by doing things like nodding, by body gestures, like huh. See, non verbally, you can do it non verbally, we use body gestures, using things like where you're looking at them in various ways that indicate that you're changing your posture, your body language, in response to whatever they're saying. So you want to make sure that it's in tune with whatever they're saying. And then, of course, verbally, and you don't have to say, Oh, right, you don't, don't interrupt them and share your story, unless you believe it would be very appropriate. And they would be happy to hear your story at that moment, which is going to be much more rare than you think. So you want to be pretty careful about interrupting people when you can, especially if you're engaging in pathetic listening, what you want to do is have verbal signs that say things like, Mm hmm. Oh, yeah. Huh. That's interesting. Aha, oh, yeah. Oh, that must have been scary. Oh. So those sorts of things that are not really interruptions, even when you say that must have been scary or frustrating or something like that. But shows that show here that emotions that you're understanding their emotions, but it doesn't really interrupt them, it lets them go on and at the firm's them. So it's affirming statements, verbal statements, and non verbal statements that show that you're getting their emotions, what they care about. So you really want to be responding to the underlying emotions, rather than the specific content of what they're saying. And use your responses to convey that you're understanding their emotions. That's what empathetic listening is about. It's a really important skill to develop, to show your concern for your stakeholders. So that's the first of three skills first, a free skill. Next one. Second one, echoing and mirroring, echoing and mirroring? What's that about? Kind of like it sounds, this is about showing that you're paying full attention. So we talked about those signals of a cent. This is a bigger, deeper way of showing that you're paying attention that echoing in mirroring, what you want to do here is rephrase key points that they're making, in your own words, not simply repeat them, but show in your own words, that you understand what they're saying, but integrate their own jargon. So if they're saying things like synergizing, one thing with the other, or if they're using acronyms, ISO or something like that, use those acronyms. Use those specific ways of phrasing things. If they're saying something, I serve my clients and my business, rephrase that. So talk about their service, talk about things that speak their language, things that people don't regularly say, things that are specific to them jargony, perhaps to their profession, or perhaps to them as an individual, because they're expressing their values, their concerns with what they're saying in their jargon. So you want to rephrase these key points in your own words. And this can be very quick, you know, so if you're, if someone has been sharing for three minutes, five minutes, about how they're serving their clients, and how they're really excited about doing so, because they feel it really calls to their sense of duty to make people thrilled, let's say, and you couldn't say that something like, so it sounds like your service is very important to you. And it makes you really fulfilled to frill people to delight people. And that's kind of a 15 second summary of somebody's five minute description. And that will help people really feel your stakeholders really feel that you're listening to them. You're using their terms, but you're kind of repeated Raising a little bit maybe if they say thrilled you say delighted and thrilled and delighted, I mean pretty much the same thing. But it shows that you're using your language. At the same time when you talk about serving people, it's not necessarily a common way of talking about clients, let's say, many people use different languages. So there you're using kind of their jargon, whatever speaks to them. And you want to mirror their tone and posture. If that kind of laid back tops, lowly and calmly, then you want to be late, back, talks, low, calm, if they're animated, and gesturing and excited, you want to do some of that as well. Don't be exactly like them, that'll be a little bit off putting, but you want to move toward them. Whatever your natural, if you're naturally slow. In your talk, you can have a drawl you may be and you're talking to somebody who is more of a New Yorker type. And I say that with all. With all love for New Yorkers, I'm someone who grew up in New York City. So I understand what that's like. So if somebody is the New Yorker type, they're faster energetic, the gogo fast paced, you may be wanting to speed up closer to them, to make them feel like you are aligned with them. And you want to do that throughout the conversation. So start at your normal pace. And then speed up. And again, if you are more of a New Yorker type, and you meet somebody who is more like this slower paced talking with someone, someone from the south, let's say, then you want to slow down throughout the conversation, and so that you match them and so they feel cared for and respected. So that's key. That's the second skill again, second skill out of three. And the third one, the third skill is building rapport. That's the key skill. So you got that empathetic listening, you now have heard their emotions, you understanding where they're coming from, and you have shown them that you care about their emotions, then, on a deeper level, you're echoing and mirroring their points, you're showing them that you understand the content of what they're saying, and that you care about the content of what they're saying. And finally, building rapport. That is an even deeper way of building that relationship, establishing those positive emotions and connections with your stakeholders. So getting that relationship strengthened by showing your stakeholder that you understand their feelings, that you understand their goals, that you understand their own values, and their challenges. So four things four things, emotions, goals, values, and challenges. You want to signal that you understand those, you want to express compassion. So as part of doing so we talked about compassion, remembering the difference between empathy, sympathy and compassion, empathy, understanding what other people feel, that's internal, sympathy, understanding. Sympathy is about caring what they feel. And that's again, internal compassion is about expressing caring for what people feel, and that's external. So you want to express caring about what they feel. You want to express caring, that's their emotions, you want to express caring about their goals, you want to express caring about what values they have. And you want to express caring about their challenges. You want to convey that you understand your stakeholders positions, and that emotions, goals, values, and challenges kind of combine into their position, and their perspective, whatever you're collaborating on. So you want to show that you understand where they're coming from what they care about, that is going to be really important for you, and find points of commonality, your stakeholder and you of course, you're not going to share everything, by definition, right? Otherwise, you will be the same person as they are. And you're not that. So you want to instead of looking at points of differences, which people tend to do, they, you know, forget how much they share, and they focus on emphasizing their disagreements. You don't want to do that. You want to instead focus on the points of agreement, focus on the commonalities. So when you're building relationships, of course, there's a different time when you're negotiating, trying to figure out differences, to focus on addressing differences, that's totally normal, unreasonable. But when you're focusing on building that relationship, you really want to highlight the commonalities that you share, that you want to have that sense of connection around. So that's what building rapport is about. Understanding signaling that you understand that emotions, goals, values, challenges, expressing compassion for them, caring for all those conveying that you understand their position as the stakeholder whatever they are, and finding points of commonality between When you add them. And finally, finally, this is an important and careful point. So nuanced points, you want to use humor. Now, if you're not great using humor, this is optional. So being very clear, this is optional, just kind of adding that in as a bonus thing that you can do. If you are decent at using humor, you want to use it carefully, making sure that you don't make off color jokes. Because those really harm relationships, the surprising way you'd be surprised at how much they call it relationships. So you want to make sure that you don't make off color jokes. Anything that you do use humor, the safest humor to use is to make fun of yourself. That's definitely safe humor. If you find that your stakeholders making fun of something unless it's themselves or their company never want to do that, that organization never wants to do that or their group wherever they are affiliated with but something external, something that's not related to them, you can make fun of that as well. Don't make more aggressive fun of it than the stakeholder. But you want to use humor carefully and that's safe, so that's reasonably safe. But the safest point to use humor about is yourself. And I would encourage you to pre plan some things built in some things that you think would appeal to the stakeholder. So you know if you can point yourself out, Potter up below Matic light in a harsh light in some way. Make a joke at your own expense, do so build that planet in and practice it. So it comes up naturally. It's too hard. It's difficult to do spontaneous humor. If spontaneous planned humor or spontaneous sounding plant humor, let's say that way, if you have not practiced it, make sure that you practice it and integrate effectively. Again, this is an optional part of building rapport that doesn't have to do with the crucial things, those previous things that I talked about signaling that you understand that emotions, goals, values and challenges, showing compassion, understanding their position, showing that you understand their position and find your points of commonality. Those are the fundamentals of building rapport. using humor carefully is an option. All right. So those are the key key aspects of how you build those stakeholder relationships using the social intelligence skills of empathetic listening, echoing in mentoring, and building rapport. So those three key skills will help you build strong stakeholder relationships, and help you achieve whatever goals you're trying to achieve. All right, everyone, I hope you've enjoyed this new episode of the wise decision maker show, please click like, if you like it on whatever venue, you're listening to it on iTunes, Amazon podcasts, YouTube, we do have both a video cast and the podcast. And both will be linked in the show notes. So if you're listening to this on the podcast, check out the video cast, maybe like that, if you're listening to this on the videocast. Check out the podcast for when you're driving or taking care of house chores or something like that. And there will be a blog with much more about this information linked in the show notes. So check that out. And there are two books that I want to recommend that are quite relevant to this topic. One is never go with your gut how pioneering leaders make the best decisions and avoid business disasters. That's about decision making. Risk Management, strategy, change management, overcoming resistance to change so make sure to check that out. It's a disaster avoidance forward slash never got and it's linked in the show notes. Also, you'll want to check out the blind spots between us on how to overcome unconscious cognitive bias and build better relationships, very relevant stakeholder relationships, of course. So it's about relationships, communication, unconscious bias issues, it's going to be a disaster avoidance forward slash blind spots and linked in the show notes. Finally, there's a free course that I think you'll find very interesting and relevant to you called the wise decision maker course. It's eight video based modules on how to make the wisest decisions possible. It's going to be a disaster avoidance forward slash subscribe, and of course linked in the show notes. All right. As always, I will see you at the next wise decision maker show and I hope that in the meantime, you will make the wisest and most profitable decisions, my friends

Transcribed by

Originally Published at Disaster Avoidance Experts on January 19 2021

Bio: An internationally-recognized thought leader known as the Disaster Avoidance Expert, Dr. Gleb Tsipursky is on a mission to protect leaders from dangerous judgment errors known as cognitive biases by developing the most effective decision-making strategies. A best-selling author, he is best known for Never Go With Your Gut: How Pioneering Leaders Make the Best Decisions and Avoid Business Disasters (Career Press, 2019), The Blindspots Between Us: How to Overcome Unconscious Cognitive Bias and Build Better Relationships (New Harbinger, 2020), and Resilience: Adapt and Plan for the New Abnormal of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic (Changemakers Books, 2020). He published over 550 articles and gave more than 450 interviews to prominent venues such as Inc. Magazine, Entrepreneur, CBS News, Time, Business Insider, Government Executive, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Fast Company, and elsewhere. His expertise comes from over 20 years of consulting, coaching, and speaking and training as the CEO of Disaster Avoidance Experts. It also stems from over 15 years in academia as a behavioral economist and cognitive neuroscientist. Contact him at Gleb[at]DisasterAvoidanceExperts[dot]com, Twitter @gleb_tsipursky, Instagram @dr_gleb_tsipursky, LinkedIn, and register for his free Wise Decision Maker Course.

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