Just to re-cap… We are currently working our way through some ideas for building relationships with challenging students. To help keep us all on track I produced a ‘Stepping Stones’ process map which we are all following. We are following it aren’t we? 🙂
If you didn’t download yours you can get one in Part 1 of this series.
We’ve covered some ideas for the first two stepping stones so if you want to you can add some ideas to them (we will be covering a lot more so you might want to save a couple of spaces on the ‘Best Relationship Builders’ stone. Remember, this is just a space to record key points).
Today we’re going to look at two more ideas which often get overlooked. (Stepping Stone 3).
1. The Franklin Effect
Psychologists give us lots of clever ways of striking up bonds very quickly with people – mirroring body language, altering our facial expressions, using the same tone of voice, giving compliments, offering to do nice things for them etc.etc.
18th Century politician Benjam Franklin found an alternative, counter-intuitive approach which was equally, if not more, effective. To cut a long story short he had been trying to connect with another politician but wasn’t able to. The other man wanted nothing to do with him.
Franklin knew that this man happened to have a certain rare book in his personal library and he asked if he could borrow it from him. Surprisingly, the man’s attitude to Franklin changed completely from that moment on…
“When we next met in the House, he spoke to me (which he had never done before), and with great civility; and he ever after manifested a readiness to serve me on all occasions.”
Franlkin attributed this to a simple principle – if you want to increase the likelihood of someone liking you, get them to do you a favour.
Russian novelist, Leo Tolstoy, agrees with this: “We do not love people so much for the good they have done us, as for the good we do them.”
(I found these quotes in a fascinating book called ‘:59 Seconds’ by professor Richard Wiseman – a right riveting read it is too. 🙂
If you think about it, it makes sense – when you do someone a favour it draws you to them, you feel a connection with them and it feels good. There is joy in giving and by asking students to help us we can successfully employ the ‘Franklin Effect’. Ask a troublesome student to help you sort something out with your car, choose an outfit for an upcoming party, pick a CD for your own child’s brithday, decorate your house, do your ironing…
2. Relationships are built on dialogue
Relationships can’t grow very fast without dialogue; as the old BT advert said, “it’s good to talk.” Indeed, conversation is your very best relationship builder.
The thing is, there are different levels of conversation and the level at which we communicate will dictate how fast relationships with students develop…
In this pyramid you can see the most basic level of communication is the ‘Gossip Zone’. This is playgroud chatter and banter. Conversations about football scores, latest soap happenings and politics take place at this level.
At the second level we talk about facts and we give out information. Most teacher-talk in the clasroom takes place on this level.
Finally, we have the top level where emotions and feelings are discussed. When conversations take place at this level there is more risk for those taking part – more of the self is revealed. Leaders who communicate on this level truly inspire their listeners because they reach them on a deep level – they connect with them.
Relationships can develop very quickly when communication involves feelings and emotions. Share your life with your students, share your feelings and you may find they respond to you more positively. Laugh with them, joke with them and if you’re down, explain why – let them see that you’re human and it will encourage them to do the same.
In the next post (hopefully tomorrow) we’ll take the issue of communication a little further and look at ways of discovering students’ interests so that you actually have something to talk about with them that interests them. In the meantime you can add The Franklin Effect and Dialogue to ‘2 you might not have thought of’ on your Stepping Stones’ process map.