Communication Made Simple: S-O-F-T-E-N Your Approach
Here’s a simple acronym that’ll help you build rapport with almost everyone you meet.
“S” Stands for smile. To make a great impression, always wear a smile. (Or at least a pleasant expression on your face.) You’re never fully dressed without your smile. Put it on in the morning when you put on your underwear. (If you don’t wear underwear, that’s a whole ‘nother reason to smile.)
“O” stands for open. Keep your body posture open. Don’t cross your arms in front of your chest or stomach—it’s closes off the third chakra energy center. If you must, put your hands in your front pockets—although back pockets are best as it opens up your energy centers even more.
“F” stands for forward lean. Show people you’re interested in them by leaning slightly toward them. If you’re standing next to them, bend the knee that’s closest two them to produce a natural stance. At the very least, tilt your head in their direction.
“T” stands for touch. Occasionally reach over and touch the person you’re speaking to on the hand or arm, perhaps the shoulder or upper back. It builds camaraderie and rapport with a simple exchange of energy. Careful not to offend with an unwanted lingering touch.
“E” stands for eye contact. Eyes are the windows to the soul. (That makes your eyebrows the curtains.) Some people have very direct eye contact and others are more comfortable with intermittent eye contact. Look people in the eye but soften your gaze if they start to advert their eyes. Imagine using a dimmer switch to turn down the “volume” or intensity of your gaze.
“N” stands for nod. Use visual confirmation that you’re listening—nod your head while you’re making eye contact with the person who is talking. Notice that women nod their heads more than men. Women nod to indicate “yes, I’m listening.” Men nod their heads when they are in agreement.
For more suggestions on building communication skills, read why you should Drop the F-Bomb.