That's why most perceptive managers abhor butt-kissers; why so many glad-handing upper level executives are so despised by those they glad-hand. Nobody likes to be manipulated; nobody likes to be patronized.
If you don't honestly find the people around you are more interesting than the office furniture or the potted plants, you probably don't know much about the people around you.
Take an interest, listen, observe. Beyond rapport building, the more you know about people the more effectively you can reach them. What are their short and long term goals? What's their plan for reaching those goals? What do they see as the biggest obstacles? What are their current problems? What would the ideal solution to any of these problems look like? What's the downside if these problems aren't solved?
How can you help?
Discover their hot buttons: involve them emotionally as well as intellectually. More of our supposedly rational decisions are made at the gut level than any of us like to admit.
And when in doubt, ask a question. That's a good general rule in a business situation - or any other time for that matter. Someone once said, "You can tell whether a man is clever by his answers. You can tell whether a man is wise by his questions."
It's far easier to manage people by getting them to open up than by telling them to shut up.
Barry Maher speaks, writes and consults on leadership, management, communication and sales. And he's an acclaimed and motivational keynote speaker. His books include, Filling the Glass; No Lie: Truth Is the Ultimate Sales Tool; and Getting the Most from Your Yellow Pages Advertising. Visit his website and sign up for his free newsletter at www.barrymaher.com or contact him at 760-962-9872.
Copyright 2006, Barry Maher, Barry Maher & Associates. Las Vegas, Nevada. Used by permission.