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Building Rapport- 5 Tips You Need to Know

Having the ability to build rapport instantly  – Developing strong relationships based on trust, like and know 

Have there ever been times that you are just lost for words, or find it hard to connect with someone ? You know going to an event and standing in the corner not knowing how to commence a conversation ..

So I am going to open this article with a topic that everyone deals in daily life but still are unaware of the potential it has if done correctly.

What I Am Talking About? Let me start with an example-

Meghan has just started her sales career with IT Solutions, and she’s in trouble. She doesn’t seem to connect with clients, she struggles to set meetings, and she can’t seem to close deals and make a sale. Just as Meghan is ready to give up and start a new career, Rapport Man (R.M.) flies in and pays her a visit.

R.M. tells Meghan that she isn’t a bad sales person; she just needs to learn how to build rapport. He explains that rapport refers to a relationship where there is mutual trust and understanding that all parties involved have another’s best interests in mind. Rapport building is the process of creating rapport and building trusting relationships between two or more people.

So what exactly is Rapport, and how can you become skilled at developing it? We’ll examine this, and more, in today’s blog.

Rapport Building involves Listening, connecting, mirroring, relating and respecting each other

Have you ever noticed that when best friends get together, they tend to act and even sound alike? It’s often described as ‘chemistry’ or ‘a positive vibe’.

Did you Know that words are only 7% of a conversation?

It’s often said that the words we use form only 7% of our communication with other people.

This comes from a study by Albert Mehrabian 197. He looked at the importance of non-verbal communication in a face-to-face situation. He concluded that the tone and body language has a higher significance (38% and 55% respectively) than the words used when conveying a message face to face (38% of our communication to others is a result of our verbal behaviour, which includes tone, timbre, tempo, and volume of voice and 55% of our communication is a result of our nonverbal communication, our body posture, breathing, skin colour and our movement). So, you’ll be missing a trick if you don’t consider the “whole picture” of human communication.

Let’s Analyse These One By One-

Words are only 7% of the communication process

1. Mirror and Match

Mirroring and matching are techniques for building rapport by making yourself more like the other person. How you do this is about more than just what you say.

  • Watch the other person’s body language , including gesture, posture and expression. If, for example, he rests his chin on his left hand, consider mirroring him by doing the same with your right hand. To match it, you would use your left hand.
    • Adopt a similar temperament. If the other person is introverted or extroverted, shy or exuberant, you should behave in the same way. If he’s reserved, for example, then you should be, too, or you’ll risk being seen as brash or invasive.

Discretion and common sense are essential when mirroring and matching. Don’t, for example, mimic every word and gesture. If you do, you risk causing offense. Be subtle and aim to reach a point where you’re naturally synchronizing your behaviour, so that the other person is unaware of what you’re doing.

Mirroring and matching can be difficult skills to master. However, remember that we all unconsciously mirror and match family, friends and colleagues every day. 

Mirroring and Matching – Is like looking into a mirror
  1. Matching Voice Tempo and Words-

Another opportunity for getting into rapport is to notice how the other person tends to verbally communicate. If they speak more slowly, you should slow your pace and if they’re speaking more quickly, you can pick up your step. Also, be aware of the tone of voice they are using—is it soft and gentle, or is it loud and deliberate? This is not to say you should blatantly copy them but rather follow their lead. Use the same words they do to create a culture of understanding. By doing this, there is a thread of similarity woven through your unconscious communication that leads to feelings of trust and connection. Just be yourself and do your best at the same time to match what it is that you are hearing. Don’t outright copy tonality.  Can you imagine a man with a tenor voice trying to match a woman’s high-pitched tone?  That would be ridiculous.  He could, however, try raising the pitch of his (natural) voice just a bit to be more in sync with her.

Creating the foundations

Using the same words and lingo can have a good foundation on building rapport. If a person has a certain way of saying something, start using the same words. Even matching someone’s slang, will build rapport as they will feel like you come from the same place as them, because of the way you speak.

If language was given to men to conceal their thoughts, then gesture’s purpose was to disclose them.“ John Napier

only 7% of communication is words – 35% is Tonality – 55% is body language

If you have ever heard the expression “doesn’t meet a stranger,” you likely know that the phrase describes someone who is unconditionally friendly and able to converse with anyone. Some people have this trait, and others wish they did. I cannot tell you how many times a colleague has walked into work or sat down to talk to me at an event only to say, “Hey, I met your mother. She is so friendly and so nice.” My mother truly doesn’t meet a stranger. She seeks to find common ground with each person she engages.

Throughout my life, I have met other people who can walk into a room of strangers and emerge with the seeds for deep relationships and bonds. These people are open, vulnerable and – typically – great listeners. From these folks, I have learned several techniques for building rapport with anyone.

3. Matching Breathing Levels-

Mirroring and matching can be very powerful and effective techniques for quickly establishing rapport with someone.  However, do use common sense and discretion.  Don’t outright mimic a person’s every move – that’s counterproductive and disingenuous.  If your client becomes aware that you’re actively using specific techniques to create rapport with them, there’s a good chance that their state of trust and receptivity will be irrevocably eroded.

Did you know that you can even match breathing

Some people are naturally relaxed while others are chronically gregarious and active.   Strive to match energy level.  An effective way to match energy level is to mirror the breathing rate of your friend or colleague.  This is one of the most difficult aspects to match as it requires you to closely observe the rise and fall of other persons chest and shoulders, among other cues, while simultaneously maintaining consistent eye contact and engaging in deep listening.  However, once mastered, it’s very effective. As well as an exchange of information, I believe that communicating with another person, or any number of people, is about an exchange of energy.

4. Listening Skills

Which are you Visual, Kinesthetic or Auditory

Do you feel like there is someone in your life that you just can’t see eye to eye with? Like no matter what you do, you just can’t communicate, or get through to this person? Or, maybe you have a particular person in your life who just understands you, and visa-verse. You just get each other. This is most likely because of your VAK modalities.

There are three different ways of processing information: Auditory, Visual, and Kinesthetic. In developed countries, studies show that sixty percent of people process information in a visual way, twenty percent in an auditory way, and twenty percent kinesthetically.

Someone who is auditory is more rhythmic and does things in patterns. They’re usually good at repeating things back to you and say things like, “We worked together in harmony,” which is an auditory phrase.

A person who thinks visually processes information quickly, uses descriptive language frequently, and performs a lot of hand gestures. They’ll usually use phrases like, “It appears we have a sketchy situation.” Personally, I am a visual learner, and find myself having to write things down so that I can see them, in order to understand them. I have also found that I have an easier time spelling when I’m writing something down, rather than spelling from memory.

Kinesthetic learners prefer to be “moving and doing” and are frequently called “do-ers” because they respond best to being active when learning. If you have ever had a classmate that could not sit still during class, and always had to be up doing something, that person was probably a kinesthetic learner.

Do you know how others experience the world around you?

A huge part of VAK modalities is knowing how you and others experience the world around you.  It is normal to come across people that you don’t naturally connect with. Knowing how a person communicates or processes information can make things a bit easier, especially if this person is someone with whom you must communicate with on a regular basis, such as your boss or co-worker.

5. Final Take Away

Your take away tips on how to build rapport

Communication is common, right! Well the fact that experts constantly speak about it makes people feel like they have it all locked down and there is nothing new to learn. The most interesting thing is that there is always something new to learn. You have conversations with more than just your mouth; and that’s exactly what I told you above!!

Besides the ones that I discussed above below are some pointers that are utmost necessary while communicating!!

  • Looking people in the eye.
  • Shaking their hand firmly (where culturally acceptable).
  • Smiling when you see them.
  • Being an active listener.
  • Being sincere.
  • Giving someone your full attention.

These are all basic communication skills that lay a solid foundation for establishing rapport with someone. Developing rapport is an essential part of every relationship. Without rapport, you would basically not have a relationship at all!

Being able to build rapport consciously is therefore extremely useful both personally and professionally. As a skill, it means that you can build relationships faster, and improve communication more rapidly. Your working relationships will be more effective, and your personal relationships will be stronger as a result.

How good are you in communicating with others? Do you feel stuck at times when you are not able to connect or get the right vibe?

Looking for Help within your Business? Book into Lee’s Calendar for a Chat – CLICK HERE

All the best in Business

Lee Stemm

Check out our latest Podcast on Rapport Building – CLICK HERE

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