Barbara Loraine, MA

Great relationships don’t happen by accident. They happen best when we pay attention, set an intention to discover the truth, and use good communication skills that build bridges of understanding. 

Understanding doesn’t happen accidentally, we must build it.

I use the acronym B.U.I.L.D. to more easily remember the basic ingredients of understanding, which is the foundation of all relationships. 

“Begin with the end in mind,” that is one of Stephen Covey’s most famous quotes, one that I use constantly, and one that I suggest to others. Another Covey idea that I hold dear is the idea of relationships and negotiations being “win-win or no-deal.”

Our zero-sum-game culture, where some win and most others lose, might be the norm, but we can always take a stand for more win-win interactions. Whatever it is we want from our relationships, whether at home, at work, or in the community, we get out of those relationships what we put into them. Being a cook, I’ll use a cooking analogy, “If you want a great cake, you must start with a great recipe and ingredients.”  
Here’s the B.U.I.L.D. “recipe”:

Understanding must be sought. Understanding comes from seeing the truth, not just from our own perspective, but to put ourselves in the other’s shoes.   Once we empathize, understanding is the natural outcome.

I’m reminded of the story the man riding home on the bus. Another man got on the bus with two boys, who immediately began crying and acting up. The father ignored the boys and the discomfort they were causing the other passengers.

The first man approached the father and asked him to control his boys. The father apologized, with a sigh, saying, “I’m sorry, we just got back from the hospital where their mother died right in front of them. They can’t stop crying, and I’m so lost in despair, I hardly noticed the ruckus they were causing here.”

The first man apologized and went back to his seat . . . with a much different perspective.

There’s an old saying, “If you assume, you make a “donkey” out of you and me.  By seeing to understand, instead of building walls, we build more accurate, respectful perspectives . . . and interactions.  

Intention is key to this process. It’s easier to just go along with what we have always thought and believed to be true. Especially if everyone around us is doing things the same old way; it’s easy to “go along to get along.”

In workshops, I’ve often illustrated the idea of intention by asking a volunteer to come to the front of the room with me I instruct them, “Please walk to the other side of the room. But as they begin to walk, I hold my arm across the path to prevent them from doing so. More often than not, they look confused . . . and they stop. I then continue, “walk to the other side of the room.” And again I prevent them from doing so. Then their mind clicks, they get it. The next time I prevent them from walking, they about knock me over.”

(Obviously, I choose a volunteer who is smaller than I am!)

Before we can understand, we must listen. Instead of listening to hear and understand, as the other person is speaking, we often are formulating our reply. As we think of what we will say, we miss out on what we they are saying.

Try this: Listen in a way that, once the speaker is finished, you can share what the speaker said with another person. Doing that invites powerful listening. Not only that, it prepares us to ask questions so we can even better understand.

Some of the tools for effective listening are:

  1. Pay attention – this is one of the best ways to honor a speaker.
  2. Make listening sounds (“um, I see,” etc.), so the speaker knows we’re with them.
  3. Ask questions to get more information.
  4. Reflect back what they’ve said, to check for meaning.

D – DON’T.
Don’t think you have to agree with what others say. By listening, really paying attention, and our putting ourselves in their shoes – we gain understanding. With that, we may change our view or not. We may understand the other’s position but “agree to disagree.” We can fine-tune our thinking. Most importantly, we gain respect, compassion, and (at least) tolerance for other’s views.

 Great relationships don’t happen by accident. They happen best when we:

1) Consider the results we want, including understanding.
2) Work to see the truth.
3) Set an intention to gain understanding.
4) Use good communication skills that build that understanding.
5) Don’t’ judge too quickly.

With these B.U.I.L.D. skills, we do indeed build understanding and relationships that create harmony and peace.


Barbara Loraine, MA, is a serial entrepeneur.  Her Master’s Degree is in human behavior, along with certificattions in Salesmanship, Multi-Media, Leadership, Communications, Hypnotherapy, and more. This education is just the academic foundation of her work.  She remains an in-the-trenches student of how people succeed. 
Loraine’s professional experience includes both Personal and Business Performance Consulting and Training. She is an author of several books for creating “OMG ROI,” and her favorite, “Claim Your Acre of Diamonds.” 

Loraine’s other persona is as director of – and talent in – GiGi B Club for Kids.  As Loraine says, “My other hat is a tiara.” She has just begun writing children’s books, including “The Lizanardo Series” and the “Superhero and Monster Series,” with Joy Publications. 

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