Life without people would be drab and dull. If you had no friends, would you not turn into a hopeless lump upon your couch, existing in misery and surrounded by solitude?
And is not every business is essentially a people business. If it is not for other people, would you even have a business?
Getting along with people is key, regardless of whether we are talking about colleagues at work, friends or prospective clients. If you are not relating to the people you interact or deal with on a daily basis, whether you lead them, sell them, or manage them, succeeding in life would be just flat out difficult and grueling. Lets face it – people like others who are like themselves. This is why it is important to build rapport.
What is Rapport?
Rapport is found at the framework of any close, meaningful and harmonious relationship between two or more people. It’s that sense of connection you feel when you come into contact with a person you trust and like. You get them – and as you learn more about each other, a deeper bond is created, and you can even end up sharing values and priorities with one another.
Building rapport is the initial step that must be mastered when it comes to establishing trust and building confidence in any relationship. Rapport enables the other party to know that you are someone worth talking to and being friends with or – in the business world – someone worth working with or buying from.
Tips to Build Rapport
When the time comes for you to establish a new relationship or improve an existing one, knowing how to build rapport will help you be successful, ensuring your relationship is rooted on a strong foundation of trust and confidence. Below are some tips to help you get on the right track.
Stick to the Basics of Good Communication
Good communication is vital in all relationships. The following are the basic tenets that form the foundation of good communication. It is difficult to establish good rapport without these skills. By practicing and perfecting them, you can establish empathy and trust in your relationships. The basics of good communication include:
- Listening carefully and attentively.
- Have good nonverbal communication: smile, relax and maintain good posture.
- Being culturally appropriate (just don’t be an asshole).
- Remembering and using people’s names.
- Being clear and concise – don’t talk too much or too little.
- Being fun and energetic.
Search for Common Ground
Try to find common ground to establish rapport. Small talk is a great way to discover something that you share with your friend or colleague.
People often enjoy talking about themselves. Show genuine interest in what they are saying and the person you are talking to will likely “open up.” Ask questions that are open-ended to gain insight into the person’s life. Ask questions like:
- What are you passionate about doing?
- What kind of shows do you like on Netflix?
- Where did you go to college?
- What kind of hobbies do you enjoy?
- Whats your favorite spors team?
Anything that will tell you more about the person and what they may have in common with you is a good place to start. And even if they don’t have something in common, let’s say you both like rival sports teams, that’s still a great opportunity to create a fun rivalry, which can become the foundation to build upon. Its okay to be creative – just don’t try to force things – always be genuine in your approach!
Being empathetic goes a long way when it comes to building rapport. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Empathy is about walking in another person’s shoes, without any judgement, so you can better understand where they are coming from in regards to point of view, values, and thought processes. Ask open-ended questions and allow plenty of space to talk – but be sure to listen. It is important you truly hear what they say so you can respond with curiosity and show empathy.
Create New Shared Experiences
Perhaps you both went to the same school so you already have something in common – but rapport can grow further by creating new, shared experiences. These experiences can be something simple like going to the same conference together, heading to a sporting event or checking out a documentary (either together or to discuss later). Make new experiences happen, and the two of you will have more to bond over.
Mirroring and Matching
We like people who seem to be similar to ourselves, according to research. One technique for building rapport is called mirroring and matching, which is done by making you more like another person.
You can do this by watching the other person’s body language, including posture, expressions, gestures and even their tone of voice. Also try adopting a temperament similar to the other person – is he introverted or extroverted? Behave exactly as they are behaving. Use language that is similar to what they are using, repeat catch phrases that they may be saying or respond with similar catch phrases. Use technical terminology in return if they are using technical terminology. If they are speaking in slang, speak in slang yourself.
This may seem silly at first but try it out and see how well it works. Did you ever wonder why all the popular kids hung out together in high school? They had a lot more in common than you probably were aware of at the time.
Building rapport is incredibly beneficial to relationships – both inside and outside of the workplace. You can establish higher quality interpersonal relationships and open many doors by building rapport.