The Secret to Stress-Free Relationships

A number of experts in sales emphasize the importance of building relationships for achieving success. Such an approach also makes interactions with others less stressful.

Here is a classic from Ed Oakley’s “Enlightened Leadership.”

There is a famous story about a life insurance company. The salespeople went through the training program and were very successful for about 18 months. After 18 months, their sales dropped off.

The company made quite an intensive investigation as to the reason. They found that the people followed the training approach of the company, which was to ask questions. Using this approach, the salespeople not only got to know financial problems and concerns, but also something about the people themselves. The questioning approach led to relationship building.

After about 1.5 years, the salespeople had heard almost all the answers they were going to hear, and so they moved into a telling mode—asking less and telling more. That’s when sales plummeted because the salespeople did not bond with the prospective client, and when sales dropped, they became discouraged. They were focusing on fear of failure, and the downward spiral of their performance was in full gear.


Telling, by its very nature, carries a message that what you are doing needs to be changed—that what you are doing is not good enough. People do not mind changing as much as they mind being changed, meaning someone else’s telling them what to do.

You should be aware that telling carries this underlying message. Sharing information and asking reflective questions are much more effective approaches to relationship building and stress-free interactions.


Live Without Stress

Teaching, parenting, and simply living can be stressful at times. That’s why I wrote my newest book Live Without Stress: How to Enjoy the Journey. If you’re looking for stress management advice, check it out. The book is available as a print book (Buy one and get a second copy free to give as a gift), as an eBook, and as an audio book at