Technicians are known for being technicians. They troubleshoot….they fix things….they solve problems for people. And, in some cases, technicians who do all these things for people sometimes find it uncomfortable (or even downright difficult) to communicate with the people they do these things for….their customer.
As an HVAC technician, consider the idea that developing your communication skills can be accomplished in the same way you developed the skills you needed to read schematic diagrams or evaluate refrigeration systems. In the same way that the things you needed to learn about electricity and vapor compression systems are rooted in understanding the science behind them (things like the laws of thermodynamics and heat transfer and Ohm’s Law, or example) there is a science in learining how to communicate effectively with others. One segment of this science is known as NLP, which stands for Neuro Linguistic Programming. It was first brought to light be two university professors who wanted to know why some students did well in learning from certain teachers, while others didn’t.
These two professors figured that the problem had to be with the way in which people communicated. Some students ‘connected’ with certain teachers, while others didn’t. They referred to the results of their work as NLP because it means simply that everybody’s brain…Neuro, has a certain language…..Linguistic, that allows them to understand and use information……Programming.
On a very fundamental level, the science of NLP explains that people are dominant in one of three ways in their speech patterns. Some are dominantly visual in the way they make sense of things and speak, while others are dominantly auditory, and some people are dominantly kinesthetic. What this means is that visual people use visual words when they speak…..”I see what you mean”, for example. A dominantly visual person expressing the same thought wouldn’t use that phrase. Instead, they would say, “I hear you.” And, a domintly kinesthetic person, one who ‘feels’ about things rather than hears or sees, would say, “I think I’ve got a feel for what you’re saying,”
The idea I want you to get about all three of these types of people is that they’re all saying the same thing: “I understand.” And when you realize that people, depending on their dominant verbal communiction characteristic, will say the same thing in different ways, you begin to understand that in order to communicate effectively and ‘connect’ with your customer, you can listen closely to them, then use the same kinds of words they use to respond. This makes it easier for your customer to understand you, and trust you. And, all relationships, including the one between a technician and customer, are built on trust.
If you’re a kinesthetic person (and, if you’re a technician, you likely are), and you’re communicating with a visually oriented person, rather than saying, “Here’s what you need to know in order to get a grip on what we need to do here so your air conditioning unit will get fixed”, you would be communicating more effectively if you simply said, “Let me show you what we need to do”. And the end result of that adjustment on your part is that your customer will feel more comfortable with you and what service you are providing for them.
The overall science of NLP has a wide range of characteristics and processes, but you can learn more about the fundamentals you need to know in order to help you communicte with your customers. A wide variety of books and audio programs are available on the subject. Do a search and find the study material that would work best for you, and develop your NLP skills.
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