Creating Meaningful Relationships: HOW To Communicate Like A Pro & Accelerate Trust
Updated: Aug 25
Don't you hate it when this happens?
Acquaintances have shoved unsolicited advice down my throat and it sucked.
Close friends have heard me, but not listened to me and it hurt.
Distant homies have made conversations 100% about them and it created a disconnect.
Ever felt the same?
Wouldn't it be dope if we all lived in a world where everybody felt seen, heard and understood?
That's exactly why I try and approach every conversation I have with intention.
Do I drop the ball?
Hell yes, I’m human after all.
Just like you...
I'm work in progress.
In today's newsletter, I’ll share the exact communication strategy I use to create relationships that last (in business and in life).
Let’s get into it.
The root cause
Grossly oversimplified, but those 2 words are the reason why relationships break down and dissolve.
The issue is, we assume people speak the same “love language” as us.
For example, let’s say you’ve had a stressful week at work.
You decide give your friend Jimmy a call.
Without hesitation, Jimmy slaps you with his perspective and instantly tells you what you should do.
But not to you.
Because you don't want Jimmy's advice.
All you want is for Jimmy to listen.
Here's the thing, if we want to build trust and create a safe space for vulnerability...
Then we need to speak the same "love language" as the person we're communicating with.
Our friend Jimmy didn't get the memo.
Remember, we live in a relationship driven world.
If you don’t know how to cultivate strong ones, you’re done for.
Let’s bring our friend Jimmy back into the conversation.
One week later, he calls you and lets you know he's been caught in the middle of a company wide layoff.
Now, if that were you…
All you’d want is for Jimmy to sit in the mud with you and listen.
As that's your "love language".
But the question is, what does Jimmy need in this moment from YOU?
In order to find out, you say the following words:
Line 1: “Ahhh Jimmy, I’m so sorry to hear this…
Line 2: Just last week you told me how much you loved your company and that your boss, Amanda, was about to give you a raise.
Line 3: It sounds like this is a punch in the gut for you!
Line 4: How can I support you best here..?
Line 5: Would you like me to sit back and listen, ask you questions to help you uncover your next steps, or give you my perspective?”
Jimmy rubs his eyes, takes a deep breath and feels relieved!
Congratulations, a meaningful conversation has just ensued.
Let's break it down
Line 1: You start with empathy.
Line 2: You acknowledge the details of Jimmy's life that matter to him and show you paid attention.
Line 3: You label the emotion using the exact language he used.
Line 4: You let Jimmy know he isn't alone and that your focus is purely on him.
Line 5: You provide him with the optionality of how he would like to be helped.
Ultimately, this allows you to speak Jimmy's "love language" and communicate in a way that's most helpful to him.
That makes sense, right?
Cool, let's put it all together:
“Ahhh (insert their first name), I’m so sorry to hear this…
Just last week you were telling me (insert a notable moment from prior chat).
It sounds like (label emotion using their language)...
How can I support you best here..?
Would you like me to sit back and listen, ask you questions to help you uncover your next steps, or give you my perspective?”
The first time you try this, you'll probably feel like this...
That's a good thing.
Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is the first step to change.
If it were easy, everybody would have incredible relationships where there's no hidden resentment!
Here are 5 tips to ensure you don't drown in the deep end:
It's not just about what you say, but how you say it - ensure your delivery is deliberate and filled with warmth.
Practice - Lean into practising this strategy in "low stakes scenarios".
Worst case - If all else fails, leading with "line 5" in my example will be good enough.
Provide a safe space - If somebody smells judgement, up go the barriers and down goes the trust.
Stimulate a resolution - Ask pattern interrupting questions that allow somebody to create their own roadmap for overcoming their challenge.
Bonus tip - Scripts are your friend, not your enemy. The goal is to start with a framework, create freedom with that framework and then break it as you develop your own.
Priming: Take the script and make it sound like you.
Training day: Test it in your next low-stakes scenario.
Game day: When a high-stakes moment arises, lean into your practice and go for gold.
As always, "leading with intention" is Batman and "applying context" is Robin.
In my own life, the people I trust are the ones who deeply listen and ask incredible questions.
The way in which somebody communicates with me can make or break our relationship.
And I'm guessing the same goes for you.
On the flip side, our job is to make sure we support others in the way THEY would like to be helped.
Today's newsletter was designed to help you do exactly that.
I'll see you next week my friend.
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