How Can You Create Better Interactions?

A funny thing happened these past couple of weeks. Instead of short messages in my LinkedIn messaging, I’m receiving messages that look like newsletters. Not too long, but not short messages.

I’m so shy and retiring (!), I asked one of these people directly. “Are you using LinkedIn to send newsletters?”

Yes, he was. I asked him to stop messaging me.

I almost understand why he did this. Newsletter services aren’t free. (Well, some of them are, but they don’t do everything I need.) And I suppose, if you don’t have that many people in your network or on what would be a newsletter, maybe using LinkedIn makes some sense.

However, he advertised himself as a “world-class marketer.” He wanted to help me get more clients. Instead of showcasing his expertise, he showed how bad he was at his job.

I felt as if we had a transactional interaction. Transactions are fine for some interactions. But not often when you want to sell professional services. Those require relationship-based approaches.

He didn’t leave me with a great feeling about him. Instead, he made me suspect his abilities and delivery. And the Satir Interaction Model explains why.

How the Model Describes Our Interaction

The Satir Interaction Model works for all interactions. In my experience, it works even better for asynchronous interactions because we don’t react in the moment to fix the interaction. Asynchronous interactions challenge everyone because we don’t:

  • See facial expressions, such as eye-rolling.
  • Hear the music in our voices to know if we’re being sarcastic or earnest.
  • Know what the meaning is for the other person.

I don’t know anything about the guy who messaged me. We don’t have a relationship (which is part of the problem). However, when I received his message, here’s how I went through the model:

  • Meaning I made: I might not be sufficient as a consultant.
  • Feeling: I didn’t feel good about that.
  • Feelings about the feelings: That made me feel bad, so I checked him out and decided he was a bozo. (I thought he was bad at his chosen career.)
  • Defenses: I think my defenses were about my ego and capabilities.
  • Rules for commenting: I attempted to ask him with respect.
  • My response felt gentle to me. I don’t know what he thought.

If you’re wondering, no, I don’t feel guilty about any of this. However, I’m not immune to creating bad interactions. Which is why I have some ideas.

Ideas for Better Interactions

Especially if you want to influence someone, start with yourself. Consider these questions:

  • What do I want to do first: Show my competence or build rapport? For influence, you need both, but you can choose what to do first. This fellow didn’t show his competence or try to build rapport.
  • Can you show your trustworthiness in some way? When I realized this guy used LinkedIn instead of an email newsletter, I already didn’t trust him.
  • What interests do you share? As far as I could tell, we didn’t share any interests.

If you’re wondering, I like Genie Laborde’s Influencing with Integrity. These questions reflect her approach.

Once you think about where you want to start to create a relationship, you’re more likely to have a better interaction.

And that’s the question this week: How can you create better interactions?

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