“Authentic human interactions become impossible when you lose yourself in a role”
Eckhart Tolle – the New Earth
In many instances, It does not matter how well you are prepared for a sales appointment, the customer chooses to deal or not to deal with you, within a few minutes of meeting you. Maybe even before you started talking business!
Could it be that people may not perceive us to be authentic in the relationship that we are trying to built? Don’t be too hard on yourself if you think that it may be a possibility that they perceive you as playing a role. We have been born into a society that specialize in Role assignment and self-definition. It started when tribal cultures started developing into ancient civilizations. As people fulfilled certain functions such as priest, warrior, farmer, merchant, labourer etc, that function became their roles and determined their identity. They were eventually born into that role. Think about modern surnames such as “Bishop”, “Smith” & “Butler” that identify such medieval roles.
Social structures are less rigid nowadays, but we are still being conditioned by our environment and our self defined roles. We allow our “function” to become our “role”. To the extend that our roles (i.e colleague, customer, sales person, manager) take over our true identity and we act out the requirements of that role unconsciously. If we are “aware” enough when we interact with other people, we may detect the changes in our speech, attitude or behaviour, depending on who you are interacting with. The way we speak to the CEO of the company versus the cleaner or the way we speak to a child versus an adult, indicates that we are acting out roles.
How can we be more authentic in our relationships? Especially with our clients, seeing that this is the topic of this post?
- Ensure that you are fulfilling a function (such as sales or admin) in line with your natural abilities and strengths. Natural gifting for a function in business or life, will make you play less of a “role” and be more authentic.
- Make it a question based interaction! In order to separate you from the role as the all- knowing sales person with the selfish motivation, approach the conversation with genuine interest to help the client (or your colleague, or team member, or subordinate…)
- The aim of the questions should be to establish the goals and objectives of the other party…Such as “What do you hope to achieve? What will that mean to you? What will happen if the goal is not reached? How will that affect you? What is keeping you or standing in your way? What could you do about it? Where could I help or what options am I able to supply? “
- Be aware of your body language and what is “unsaid but communicated”. Most of all, be aware of your motivations in responses…Our ego tends to step forward and “defend” its identity when the answers are not in line with our opinion. Remember – Awareness is the greatest agent of change! Self-Change obviously…