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The key points of '7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals By Michael J. Maher

In '7L: The Seven Levels of Communication: Go From Relationships to Referrals,' Michael J. Maher presents a comprehensive guide on building and leveraging relationships for business success. The book delves into the nuances of effective communication and provides actionable strategies for networking, relationship-building, and generating referrals. As we explore the key concepts outlined in Maher's work, we uncover the pivotal role of emotional intelligence, the power of personal notes, and the strategic approach to different communication channels that can elevate professional connections to new heights.

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Seven Levels of Communication is crucial for developing deeper business relationships and driving referrals.

  • The Influential Zone highlights the importance of building trust and becoming a go-to resource within your network.

  • Appreciation Audits are a strategic approach to expressing gratitude, which strengthens connections and fosters loyalty.

  • Emotional Intelligence is key to effectively navigating interpersonal interactions and building rapport with clients and colleagues.

  • The Generosity Generation concept emphasizes the power of giving and contributing to others' success as a cornerstone of building a referral-based business.

1. The Seven Levels of Communication

At the heart of Michael J. Maher's 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication is the understanding that effective communication is multi-layered and varies in depth and impact. The book serves as a comprehensive guide to mastering these layers to build stronger relationships and generate referrals in both personal and professional contexts.

The Seven Levels of Communication are designed to move you from the basic transactional conversations to meaningful interactions that foster trust and loyalty. Here's a brief overview of the levels:

  • Level 1: Electronic Communication

  • Level 2: Direct Mail

  • Level 3: Phone Calls

  • Level 4: Handwritten Notes

  • Level 5: One-on-One Meetings

  • Level 6: Events and Seminars

  • Level 7: Promotional Items/Gifts

2. Influential Zone

The Influential Zone is where networking transcends casual interactions and becomes a strategic endeavor. Networking with intention and building meaningful connections is key to moving through the levels of communication effectively. Persuasive communication is not just about what you say, but how you say it, relying on ethos, pathos, and logos to resonate with others.

Understanding the psychology of influence is crucial for fostering positive change within your network. By mastering the art of influence, you can inspire others to take action, whether it's in support of a cause or to help grow your business.

3. Appreciation Audits

Appreciation Audits are a strategic approach in 7L: The Seven Levels of Communication that emphasize the importance of expressing gratitude to build stronger relationships. Conducting regular Appreciation Audits can significantly enhance your referral network.

  • Identify key individuals in your network.

  • Reflect on the value they've provided.

  • Determine the best way to show appreciation.

This practice not only nurtures existing relationships but also encourages new connections to flourish, as people are naturally drawn to those who appreciate them.

4. Emotional Intelligence

In the context of '7L: The Seven Levels of Communication,' emotional intelligence is a pivotal skill that enhances our ability to connect with others on a deeper level. It involves the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, as well as to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Emotional intelligence is not just about recognizing your own emotions but also about discerning the feelings of others and using this awareness to guide your communication and actions. This skill is essential for building strong, trust-based relationships that can lead to successful referrals.

The principles of emotional intelligence can be broken down into several key components:

  • Self-awareness

  • Self-regulation

  • Motivation

  • Empathy

  • Social skills

Each of these components plays a crucial role in how we interact with others and how we can leverage our relationships for both personal and professional growth. 'Emotional Intelligence 2.0' by Travis Bradberry is a guide to developing emotional intelligence for personal and professional growth. It covers self-awareness, communication, empathy, and leadership in the workplace.

5. Handwritten Notes

In the digital age, the personal touch of a handwritten note can make a significant impact. Handwritten notes are a powerful tool in building and strengthening relationships. They convey a level of appreciation and thoughtfulness that electronic messages often lack.

  • Personalize each note to reflect the relationship

  • Mention specific details that show genuine interest and attention

  • Express gratitude or congratulations as appropriate

While the act of writing by hand may seem time-consuming, the benefits it brings to relationship-building and networking are invaluable. It's a simple yet effective way to be remembered and to encourage ongoing communication.

6. Power Notes

In the realm of communication, Power Notes stand out as a personal and impactful way to connect with others. Unlike generic emails or text messages, a Power Note is a handwritten message that conveys appreciation, recognition, or encouragement in a more intimate and memorable manner.

  • Identify the recipient and the reason for your note.

  • Use high-quality stationery for a touch of class.

  • Write sincerely and from the heart; authenticity is key.

Remember, the goal of a Power Note is to deepen relationships and foster a sense of connection. It's a small investment of time that can yield significant returns in goodwill and loyalty. For further insights on effective communication strategies, consider exploring resources like TheBookSearcher website, which features a variety of business books, including titles like '7 Rules of Power'.

7. Phone Calls

In the age of digital communication, the power of a personal phone call cannot be underestimated. Phone calls create a direct and immediate connection that can convey tone, urgency, and sincerity in ways that text-based methods often fail to achieve. When used effectively, phone calls can strengthen relationships and demonstrate a commitment to personal service.

Phone calls should be strategic and purposeful, with a clear agenda or reason for the call. This ensures that the time spent on the phone is productive and respectful of the recipient's time. Here are some tips for making impactful phone calls:

  • Prepare your talking points in advance.

  • Keep the conversation focused and on-topic.

  • Be mindful of the call's timing and duration.

  • Follow up with a summary email if necessary.

Remember, the goal is to leave a positive and lasting impression that encourages ongoing communication and, ultimately, referrals. TheBookSearcher's insights on client follow-up strategies underscore the importance of effective phone communication in achieving more sales.

8. Events and Seminars

Hosting or attending events and seminars is a powerful way to deepen relationships and enhance communication. These gatherings provide a unique opportunity for face-to-face interaction, which can significantly boost your networking efforts.

  • Plan your event with a clear purpose and target audience in mind.

  • Promote your event effectively to ensure a good turnout.

  • Engage with attendees during the event to create meaningful connections.

Remember, the quality of your interactions at these events often dictates the strength of the relationships you build. It's not just about showing up; it's about being present and contributing value.

9. Electronic Communication

In the age of digital connectivity, electronic communication has become a cornerstone of business interactions. Emails, social media messages, and text messaging are tools that, when used effectively, can enhance relationships and facilitate the referral process. It's essential to focus on the power of words in influencing and impacting others effectively.

  • Use clear and concise language.

  • Personalize your messages to the recipient.

  • Maintain professionalism at all times.

  • Be responsive to messages received.

While electronic communication is convenient, it lacks the personal touch of face-to-face interactions. Therefore, it should be part of a broader strategy that includes various levels of communication to build and maintain strong business relationships.

10. One-on-One Meetings

One-on-One meetings are a pivotal aspect of building strong, personal connections that can lead to valuable referrals. These meetings are the cornerstone of relationship-building in the context of professional communication. They provide an opportunity to understand the needs, goals, and personalities of individuals on a deeper level.

One-on-One meetings should be structured yet flexible, allowing for open dialogue and genuine interaction. Here are some key elements to consider when conducting these meetings:

  • Preparation: Know the person's background and interests.

  • Listening: Be fully present and attentive.

  • Personalization: Tailor the conversation to the individual's preferences.

  • Follow-up: Ensure to continue the conversation after the meeting.

Remember, the goal of these meetings is not just to communicate, but to connect on a level that promotes lasting relationships and, ultimately, referrals.

11. Generosity Generation

The Generosity Generation represents a paradigm shift in the way professionals approach business relationships. It's about transitioning from a mindset of scarcity to one of abundance. By focusing on giving rather than receiving, individuals can build a network that is both supportive and sustainable.

In the Generosity Generation, the key is to provide value first. This can take many forms, such as sharing knowledge, offering assistance, or connecting people within your network. Here are a few ways to embody this principle:

  • Share relevant articles or resources that could benefit others.

  • Offer your expertise to help solve problems without expecting anything in return.

  • Make introductions between people who could benefit from knowing each other.

Remember, the Generosity Generation is not just about being generous with your time or resources, but also with your attention and intention. It's about genuinely caring for the people in your network and nurturing those connections.

12. Referral Mastery

Achieving referral mastery is a pivotal point in the '7L' system. It's where the culmination of building strong relationships and effective communication strategies pays off. Referrals are the lifeblood of any business, and mastering the art of getting them is crucial.

  • Understand the needs and preferences of your clients.

  • Provide exceptional service that prompts clients to share their experience.

  • Stay top-of-mind through consistent and meaningful engagement.

Remember, negotiation is an integral part of business interactions. Some key negotiation tips include establishing a walk-away point, practicing active listening, and aiming for a win-win outcome. Building relationships is key for successful negotiations, and effective communication involves understanding emotions and intentions.

13. The Communication Pyramid

The Communication Pyramid is a conceptual framework that illustrates the hierarchy of communication methods and their effectiveness in building relationships and generating referrals. At the base of the pyramid are the most common but least effective methods, such as electronic communication, which includes emails and text messages.

Moving up the pyramid, the methods become more personal and impactful. This includes phone calls, handwritten notes, and one-on-one meetings. These methods are more time-consuming but significantly more effective in fostering strong connections.

  • Electronic Communication

  • Phone Calls

  • Handwritten Notes

  • One-on-One Meetings

At the pinnacle of the pyramid are the most powerful communication strategies, such as hosting events and seminars. These allow for face-to-face interaction and the opportunity to build trust and rapport on a larger scale.


In summary, '7L: The Seven Levels of Communication' by Michael J. Maher offers a transformative approach to building and nurturing professional relationships that lead to a successful referral-based business. The book's insights into the power of personal interaction, the importance of genuine connections, and the strategic use of various communication platforms provide a roadmap for professionals to elevate their networking and communication skills. By implementing the seven levels of communication, individuals can move beyond mere transactions to create meaningful relationships that not only enhance their business but also enrich their personal lives. Maher's principles remind us that at the heart of every business interaction is the potential for a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship, and it is through intentional and heartfelt communication that this potential can be fully realized.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the '7L: The Seven Levels of Communication'?

The '7L: The Seven Levels of Communication' refer to a concept from Michael J. Maher's book, which outlines a strategic approach to building strong personal relationships that can lead to sustained business referrals.

What is the 'Influential Zone' in the context of communication?

The 'Influential Zone' is a term from Maher's book that describes a state where an individual has significant impact on others' decisions and actions, primarily through the power of strong relationships and effective communication.

How can 'Appreciation Audits' enhance communication?

Appreciation Audits are a practice recommended by Maher where individuals regularly assess and express gratitude for their relationships. This can enhance communication by making others feel valued and deepen the connection.

Why is Emotional Intelligence important in communication?

Emotional Intelligence is crucial in communication as it allows individuals to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as empathize with others. This leads to more effective and meaningful interactions.

What role do 'Handwritten Notes' play in Maher's communication strategy?

Handwritten notes are a personal touch that can make a significant impact in communication. Maher suggests that they demonstrate care and attention to detail, helping to strengthen relationships and leave a lasting impression.

What is the 'Generosity Generation' mentioned in Maher's book?

The 'Generosity Generation' refers to a community or network of people who prioritize giving and adding value to others. Maher's strategy involves being part of such a network to cultivate a culture of generosity that can lead to more referrals and opportunities.

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