A strong, healthy relationship is one in which the partners show respect and
kindness toward each other. The relationship forms a rewarding and enduring bond
of trust and support. Here are seven power skills by Steve Brunkhorst that will
help you form stronger alliances and bring more closeness, authenticity and
trust to your relationships.
1. Relax Optimistically
If you are comfortable around others, they will feel comfortable around you. If
you appear nervous, others will sense it and withdraw. If you are meeting
someone for the first time, brighten up as if you've rediscovered a long-lost
friend. A smile will always be the most powerful builder of rapport.
Communicating with relaxed optimism, energy and enthusiasm will provide a strong
foundation for lasting relationships.
2. Listen Deeply
Powerful listening goes beyond hearing words and messages; it connects us
emotionally with our communication partner. Listen to what the person is not
saying as well as to what he or she is saying. Focus intently and listen to the
messages conveyed behind and between words.
Listen also with your eyes and heart. Notice facial expressions and body
postures, but see beneath the surface of visible behaviors. Feel the range of
emotions conveyed by tone of voice and rhythm of speech. Discern what the person
wants you to hear and also what they want you to feel.
3. Feel Empathetically
Empathy is the foundation of good two-way communication. Being empathetic is
seeing from another person's perspective regardless of your opinion or belief.
Treat their mistakes as you would want them to treat your mistakes. Let the
individual know that you are concerned with the mistake, and that you still
respect them as a person. Share their excitement in times of victory, and offer
encouragement in times of difficulty. Genuine feelings of empathy will
strengthen the bond of trust.
4. Respond Carefully
Choose emotions and words wisely. Measure your emotions according to the
person's moods and needs. Words can build or destroy trust. They differ in
shades of meaning, intensity, and impact. What did you learn when listening
deeply to the other individual? Reflect your interpretation of the person's
message back to them. Validate your understanding of their message.
Compliment the person for the wisdom and insights they've shared with you. This
shows appreciation and encourages further dialogs with the individual. A
response can be encouraging or discouraging. If you consider in advance the
impact of your emotions and words, you will create a positive impact on your
5. Synchronize Cooperatively
When people synchronize their watches, they insure that their individual actions
will occur on time to produce an intended outcome. Relationships require ongoing
cooperative action to survive and thrive.
As relationships mature, the needs and values of the individuals and
relationship will change. Career relationships will require the flexibility to
meet changing schedules and new project goals. Cooperative actions provide
synchrony and build trusting alliances. They are part of the give and take that
empowers strong, enduring relationships.
6. Act Authentically
Acting authentically means acting with integrity. It means living in harmony
with your values. Be yourself when you are with someone else. Drop acts that
create false appearances and false security.
When you act authentically, you are honest with yourself and others. You say
what you will do, and do what you say. Ask for what you want in all areas of
your relationships. Be clear about what you will tolerate. Find out what your
relationship partners want also. Being authentic creates mutual trust and
7. Acknowledge Generously
Look for and accentuate the positive qualities in others. Humbly acknowledge the
difference that people make to your life. Validate them by expressing your
appreciation for their life and their contributions. If you let someone know
that they are valuable and special, they will not forget you. Showing gratitude
and encouragement by words and actions will strengthen the bonds of any
Don't forget to acknowledge your most important relationship: the relationship
with yourself. Acknowledge your own qualities, and put those qualities into
action. You cannot form a stronger relationship with others than you have with
yourself. You will attract the qualities in others that are already within you.
Ask yourself: What thoughts and behaviors will attract the kind of relationships
I desire? What is one action I could take today that would empower my current
Write down all the qualities or behaviors that you desire for your
relationships. Select the power skills that will attract those qualities. Keep a
journal of the actions you take and the progress you make. By turning these
skills into lifelong habits, you will build relationships that are healthy,
strong and mutually rewarding.