Why is it so critical to develop rapport? Rapport is the foundation upon which all successful relationships are built. Think of rapport as a filter through which all communications, both verbal and nonverbal, come. The level of rapport you have with someone will dictate how your messages are received.
For example, let’s say you are a project manager who must roll out the details of an important new marketing initiative at your next company meeting. The new plan will require extra work on your colleagues’ part and has tight deadlines. The message you deliver in the company meeting will be received by each team member through the filter of rapport you have previously developed with them.
The individuals with whom you have developed good rapport will likely be more attentive in the meeting and more willing to put in the extra work versus the colleagues with whom you have not built rapport.
Learning how to build rapport is especially critical when creating new relationships. You’ve probably already heard that you never get a second chance to make a first impression. This is why it’s important to take the time to build rapport prior to asking for what you want. You must give before you can receive.
Here are three quick and easy ways you can build rapport with your business colleagues:
1. Common Sense
While there are some not-so-obvious skills you can develop as you learn how to build rapport, never forget good old common sense:
A. Make good eye contact.
B. Use a firm handshake.
D. Be sincere.
E. Get the other person talking about themselves as quickly as possible.
F. Ask open-ended questions.
G. Face people directly when speaking to them.
H. Don’t multi-task but instead give people your undivided attention.
2. Find Commonalities
Why do strangers always talk about the weather? Because it’s something that everyone has in common. We are all humans that live on the same planet, and everyone is experiencing the weather, whether you live in Brazil or Iceland.
When it comes to business, before meeting with a new colleague or a new prospect, take five minutes to do research on LinkedIn or elsewhere to find out two to three things you have in common with the person. People like others that are similar to them. Quickly steer conversations to what you have in common, and you will find building rapport is much easier than you think.
Keep in mind your commonalities should be sincere and based on fact. Avoid the habit of trying to constantly “one up” people you’re speaking with. This is not the same as building rapport. Ask questions, listen, and then share what you have in common.
3. Use Mirroring
Mirroring is when you adjust your body language and speech to match that of the person you are speaking with. For example, if the client you are in a meeting with uses very direct language, do the same. If they are sitting straight up with their hands folded, do the same.
Another key aspect to mirroring is speech patterns. How loudly does the other person speak? How quickly or slowly are they speaking? By mirroring their speech patterns, the person will subconsciously feel more comfortable with you.
In order to be effective, your mirroring techniques can’t be overly overt. Don’t match every single gesture and speech pattern the other person does, as this can become awkward. Also make sure a few moments pass before you begin mirroring someone. Otherwise it becomes obvious and uncomfortable. By simply taking note of the other person’s verbal and nonverbal communication patterns, you can choose several things to mirror on a subtle level.
Want to learn more about building rapport? Check out this interesting article in Time Magazine, “Top 10 FBI Behavioral Unit Techniques for Building Rapport with Anyone.” <http://time.com/98473/top-10-fbi-behavioral-unit-techniques-for-building-rapport-with-anyone/>
Want a more personalized plan of action to help you build successful relationships? Discover the Mind Mastery Group Coaching program.