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Do you take the time to recognise people as individuals or are you just too busy?

I was recently observing a trainer working with a group of young people. She was asking the individuals about their goals and aspirations. One young man stood out from the others – his role was head of entertainment in a leisure business. He began to set out a series of learning goals for himself which really surprised me. He wanted to focus on reading people; what made them smile, what made them annoyed and what made them disengage.

This particular industry is one that is high risk with health and safety at the forefront of what they do. This guy recognised that understanding what makes people tick would actually lead to them following rules willingly – how? Because if he engages with them in a way that motivates and drives them they will follow the rules. We talk about stick and carrot and he preferred the carrot – he knew that to achieve this skill he would have to work at it and that is exactly what he will do. He used expressions like “understanding emotions”, “being intuitive to individual’s moods”, building a rapport” and “being able to explain clearly” so people understand.

In the role of the Claims Consultant, you go into the business of others when it is probably not at its happiest – where teams are not achieving and where blame may be bandied around. An interesting piece of information to have a look at here is the law of attraction. I have talked about this before and I will probably talk about it again – if you look for negative behaviour, sad faces and frightened people – you will find them.

The trouble is that whilst you are looking for that, you won’t spot all the good that is going on too. Spending time observing individuals to see what motivates them, how they react to comments – what pushes their buttons – you can then plan to use the best of that and avoid the worst of it.

Using this approach enables us to build rapport more quickly. The sooner a claims consultant can build rapport with the team, the sooner they will get the results that they need to achieve. The key skills required in rapport building are listening, asking questions, empathy and emotional intelligence.

Penny Whitelock FinstL&M

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