A Challenge/Experiment For You
I’ve been coaching a young man who wants to be more effective with people, who wants to be more influential. The first lesson I gave him was a simple one, on how to get someone’s unconscious attention, a topic I’ve written on a few times before. I got his email report today and he seemed both astonished and powerfully pleased. He noted that the techniques I’d taught him worked with both genders, equally well, though women seemed to catch on that he was paying attention differently. He was thrilled that people were now, spontaneously, opening up to him and that several people had told him, “I don’t know why I’m telling you all of this!” His first step of training was successful and he’s now practicing to integrate that skill into his normal behavior.
There is a step further he can go, however. It’s one Milton Erickson knew, as do several people who’ve studied under him, including Stephen Gilligan. Pacing someone’s physiology happens to rapidly speed up the process of building rapport, but as you synch your physiology to that of the person you’re interacting with, as you pour your attention towards the individual, if you do with with a strong depth of awareness, the rest of the world will begin to fade away. Not just for them (which it will), but you will discover that they command YOUR attention as much as you command theirs. I mentioned this in an earlier post when I talked about the dance of rapport and how it will get harder and harder to tell who is leading whom. There have been times, when I was doing intensive work with someone, that the world would go dark, with my attention focused on the other person so intensely their subtlest physiological shifts looked like a nod of the head. Those have been some of the times I was most dramatically effective with clients.
So I have a challenge for you. Try this. Over the next 24 hours, as often as is realistic, pace someone’s physiology. Match their body language and muscle tension. If you have the skill, match your breathing to theirs. Even their eyeblinks as much as you can. and, while you’re doing that, let yourself go silent inwardly. Focus your attention on them whole-heartedly, not in any romantic sense but simply to pay attention. Whether you’re doing sales or management or coaching or just being a good daddy, mommy, husband, wife, or even friend, let yourself focus entirely on what and how they are communicating. It doesn’t matter if you’re only able to achieve that level of focus for a few seconds–any amount more than you’ve done it in the past is progress, and I’m reasonably sure you’ll be gratified at the results. Rather than focus on YOUR experience, focus on theirs. Lose yourself in THEIR “I’s” rather than your own, for just a few minutes, fully and completely, and see whose lives change.