Regardless of our vocation, family, socio-economic status, abilities, talents, education etc., the favor of God-given wisdom can provide us with an uncommon advantage in establishing authentic and lasting relationships. This favor is intended to operate in two directions, vertically toward God and horizontally toward man.
It is said that it takes about two minutes to form a first impression and that it takes approximately 20 exposures of a “good” impression to “undo” a bad first impression. According to Roger Ailes, the communication guru who coached Ronald Reagan for his debates, there is a “magic bullet” that can help us establish a great rapport right out of the gate. Research repeatedly confirms that our messages are interpreted by others in the following breakdown: 55% is by our facial expression and body language; 38% is based on our voice tone, pitch, volume and variation. Only about 7% of our persuasion power is determined by our literal words. Put all this together and you have the “magic bullet” which is, the “likeability” factor.
Likeability alone is not enough. While it may land you the job, client, project or promotion you desire, without competence it can be short-lived. Competence without likeability is a combination that can lead to bitterness as you may observe others with less competence being promoted before you. The uncommon advantage results from a dynamic combination of likeability and personal competence and is sure to thrust you beyond others!
Whatever our assignment or purpose from God is, the capacity to honestly and openly manage well the temptations in our current level of achievement may well determine whether or not we receive an invitation to go up another level to the next assignment. I submit to you that like cream, people with the right combination of attitude and skill always rise to the top.
There is a process to promotion or achievement in life. It requires gaining experience and knowledge and learning from our mistakes. Accompanied with the attitude of remaining open to learning as we are gaining the skill sets along the way, we can emerge with a tenacity that gives us the courage to impact our sphere of influence like no other.
The beginning of true wisdom according to Scripture, is found in the fear [reverence] of the Lord. This wisdom can instruct us to learn that the ability to access greatness is through serving others and embracing life’s reversal’s and contradictions by holding fast to this “fear of the Lord” with a hope that He will guide us on the pathway to our own vantage point.
In leaning into this “wisdom”, we find God’s favor. With this favor, key people connect with us and are inclined to trust us. This ability comes from managing personal and interpersonal skills. Our personal skills are expressed through three characteristics: self-awareness, personal responsibility, and sustained motivation. Our interpersonal skills are characterized by empathy and rapport.
The path to success for us personally will involve mastering the ability to gain knowledge through our reproofs and corrections and to learn from mistakes so that we don’t have to repeat them in the future. We can never learn from an experience that we deny responsibility over. When we catch ourselves explaining or justifying ourselves, we are denying our personal responsibility and surrendering our personal power to overcome our ability to avoid mistakes we’ve made in the past. Sustained motivation is the result of the self-awareness we can develop around our choices and emotions. The moment we take personal responsibility for our situations and problems and redirect our emotions to more productive activities, is the moment that we step closer to the solutions we desire. If we are to attain significant victories in life we will need to master these three aspects of personal skills.
On the interpersonal level, we need wisdom to accurately read people and understand their personal struggles and the impact they may have on their lives. This is best defined as empathy or the power to understand what others are feeling.
The other critical interpersonal skill in the ability to build bridges of influence through trust. It is one thing to be able to read people’s feelings, and another to know how to create an environment so they feel safe and can trust you. We are powerless to influence others without the ability to build trust.
Respect accompanied by trust will equate to commitment. This is true in business, marriage, parenting and any other significant partnerships. Without respect people will not care what you say. Without trust they won’t listen, even if they believe what you are talking about. Without both respect and trust, gaining significant commitment in virtually an impossibility.
Our gifts and talents can command respect, but only our interpersonal skills can build trust. Trust building is the key to influencing others in our lives and having them come into alignment with our plan, purpose, project, assignment etc. To succeed in our fields and relationships, we need to not only be trustworthy, but to have the ability to master the skill of winning the trust of others.
When we build trust and thus, relationship, we develop the unique capacity to experience a far-reaching and positive influence. When we provide love and nurture to a child, he or she will contribute back to the world. Abuse that child and you foster a capacity for hate and destruction.
To recap: self-awareness allows us to step outside ourselves and consider how we look and sound to others. The moment we determine that what we are doing isn’t working, we can take the initiative to adjust it, thus, the essence of personal responsibility. And finally, the power of sustained motivation comes from consistent effort. [When the going gets tough, the tough keep going!]
Continue to observe how you interact with others always negotiating with yourself to develop the ability to read others well and establish empathy and a good rapport.
Explore your options and enjoy the journey by developing and aligning your gifting with the right role, right attitude and in the right environment and thereby, gaining the uncommon advantage of authentic relationships.
Sheri Geyer is a Christian Life Coach, Mentor, Writer, Wife & Mom