Tag Archives: establishing rapport

Whining and Intercultural Connection Theory

Here’s an article that may help you with intercultural communication, or maybe not. You be the judge.

And I’d just like to thank the hundreds of people who signed up for my LAB Profile® Online Program. Thanks so much!!

Here’s the article:

Whining and Intercultural Connection Theory

By Shelle Rose Charvet

The weather has been unusually bad lately. Too much snow. Too much rain. Not enough rain. Too dry. And the price of gas keeps going up on weekends. And don’t get me started on the Canadian dollar! When it goes above the US dollar, I lose a bundle in the exchange.

Doesn’t this sound Canadian, eh? To the outside ear, this may sound like whining, but what do they know? This is how Canadians connect! And connecting is important, right?

In Berlin, I greeted the general manager of the hotel where I was working. “Guten Morgen Herr Ronald. Wie geht es Ihnen?” He smiled, looked uncomfortable, mumbled something and left.

My local meeting planner Annemarie said, “Shelle, did you really want to know how he is?” “Of course not,” I replied, “it’s just that in Canada we need to exchange at least two sentences.” “Well in Germany we only need one,” she explained.

Okay then! One sentence. I can do that. No problem. But what was I going to do about the traditional German need to be perfect? “I must be perfect at all times and so must the speaker.” How do I get rid of the Perfect Directive and connect to my audience? Through an interpreter? Without losing my credibility? In only one sentence?

I gathered up my courage. Briefed my interpreters. Walked to the front of the room, smiled warmly and proceeded to screw up my attempt to use a traditional German greeting. My interpreter, standing beside me, fumbled her translation back into English, right on cue. We paused, looked at each other, both shrugged a “so who cares” kind of Gallic Shrug[1] and continued.

With one sentence, we had lowered the expectations from perfect to human, made people laugh, and didn’t entirely destroy my credibility. Yeah, but something was missing. I still hadn’t quite connected to my group yet.

“Isn’t it amazing how bad the weather has been this summer, even for northern Europe, especially when the summer doesn’t last very long?” I commented to my group. Now everyone was nodding their heads in agreement.

That’s it I thought! And I gave birth to The Connection Theory on the spot:[2]

1. Each culture has a topic of conversation, to be discussed in a particular number of sentences or duration in time for the precise purpose of connecting rather that communicating specific information. To connect one needs to match the topic and required duration of conversation.

2. Each culture has a precise “order of business” in their places of work wherein a specific number of minutes is taken for greeting, working, informal chit chat, breaks), etc., in a particular order. This order of business ensures that a personal connection will take place.

But you know the problem with theories. They don’t always work in practice. So what do you do when in doubt? Whine about the weather of course. The Canadian Connection Strategy may just be the Universal Connector. There is only one way to find out, n’est-ce pas?

Bon voyage. Gute Reise. Safe travels.




[1] I first learned the Gallic Shrug while living and working in France. It is a one-shoulder shrug which is meant to communicate: “What the heck. Who cares?” It is not to be confused with the two-shoulder Jewish Shrug which generally signals “So who knows and why are you asking me anyway?” I now teach various shrugs as high stakes negotiation techniques.

[2] I gave birth to the Connection Theory metaphorically only. If you were thinking that I actually gave birth, on the spot, in front of the audience, then perhaps you are reading this article a bit too literally.

How to be Credible – Shelle’s Top Tips

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I created this blog while in San Francisco at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Health Annual Conference. That’s the conference for NLP and Health. It’s been fantastic. 

Here is something that I do not recommend  if you want people to believe what you have to say: being too enthusiastic. When you are too enthusiastic, some people will believe that you are telling them what to think. 

“You’ve got to see this movie, you’ll love it!” That sounds like you are deciding for someone whether or not they will love it. If you want to become more credible, tone down the enthusiasm a little bit.


Look and sound confident, as if you believe what you’re saying, but use the “Language of Suggestion”. You could say something such as, “What do you think?” or “In my opinion” or “In my experience.”

 “In my experience” is a great phrase for establishing credibility. Try “In my experience, I find… What do you think?”

If a person uses too many statements of fact, the listener may feel like they are being talked at or told what to do.  That is another hint – I suggest avoiding “should”, “you must” and “here’s what you’ve got to do.” Instead, you may wish to say “It seems to me that…”

If you make a suggestion and invite the other person to think about it. Those are great ways for establishing credibility.

Here is one more way to help you to establish credibility.  Douglas Adams, the wonderful author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, in the last book that was removed from his hard drive after his death, said that one can establish credibility by saying, “It turns out.” “Establishing credibility seems to be hard, but it turns out that if you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty easy.”

Those three little words seem to give some kind of credence to your ideas.

Again, the tips on how to be credible: 

  • tone down the enthusiasm,
  • look and sound confident but use the Language of Suggestion
  • invite people to decide for themselves,
  • use phrases such as this “it turns out, in my experience.”

If you want a tried and true process for increasing your credibility, check out my MP3 “Presenting Ideas to Skeptical People”. It’s only $9.97 and could give you the edge next time you need to be convincing. Click here.

Check out  www.ShellesTopTips.com if you would like some tips on communicating and solving some of the problems.

If you are interested in booking me (Shelle Rose Charvet) for a presentation, keynote or workshop contact me at [email protected].  Please visit my speaking page too.

Skeptical People – Shelle’s Top Tips


Many people ask me “What do you do when you’ve got an audience of people that really don’t want to be there?” Or an audience what I call “conscientious objectors”. Now, I don’t mean the anti-war activists and the pro-peace people. I mean the people that Continue reading

The Problem with Empathy – Shelle’s Top Tips

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What’s the problem with empathy?” you might say. “Empathy is a good thing.” Sometimes too much empathy can reinforce a person’s belief in their issues and create or affirm a problem that that he or she is having, which can leave him or her in a negative, stuck state.

I was in a three-way conversation recently with someone who is going through a very messy divorce, and she was telling her story while the two of us listened intently.  The other person who was listening said, Continue reading

Influencing & Persuasion – Shelle’s Top Tips

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Many people have difficulty with influencing and persuasion because unconsciously, we tend to use the same strategies on other people that we would like to have other people use on us, and it’s all out of our awareness. Let’s bring a couple of things into your awareness by looking at the Language and Behavior Profile™, which is a tool that I’ve built my best-selling book on; “Words That Change Minds”, and my new book, “The Customer is Bothering Me”. Here are some of the key things you need to do to

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Retail IS Different

I was just speaking to someone today who wants to sell over a million dollars in the next year of a well-known brand of furniture. She knows it can be done – a sales person in my area has done  it. She knows retail is different than selling services and products in other environments. She is right!

Don’t you hate it when you go into a store and the sales people start heading your way. How often have you had the very short “Can I help you?” “No, I’m just looking,” conversation? Continue reading