Building Rapport with Others by Influencing Them So They Feel Comfortable in Your Presence
Remember the old saying, “A first impression is a lasting impression.” It’s true. Rapport is about making the other person feel important or at least liked and understood. It may take extra focus and time initially, and successful people will agree that it’s time well spent. If you cannot communicate effectively, then you won’t be able to sell yourself to others or build rapport.
Often building rapport is something that is left to chance and to happen naturally over time, and if you want to create it instantly, you’ll want to follow the ideas below.
Match and mirror the person you are trying to build rapport with. Matching and mirroring basically means copying the other person’s way of being; from the way they talk and the length of their gait, to their body posture and breathing speed and even their speaking mannerisms. When we like someone we unconsciously copy his movements and characteristic behaviors, this happens naturally in nature.The first time you experiment on someone, you will be surprised at how effective it is. Like anything else new that you learn, you’ll want to practice rapport building skills until they become more natural or automatic. Here are some specific ways to build rapport by matching and mirroring, to get you started:
Tools for Building Rapport:
- Physiology. Their posture, significant gestures, facial expression, eye blink, and breathing – which is the deepest form of rapport. Match what the other person is doing with their physiology. If they’re leaning in, you lean in, if they have big gestures then you make big gestures. This may seem like mimicking someone else, and you really are, yet when you do it in a natural way the other person actually feels more connected to you.
- Tonality. Voice, tone, tempo, vibration, volume, pitch and pauses. If they speak softly, you speak softly, if they speak fast, you speak fast, if their voice is loud, you be loud. You don’t need to over exaggerate any of this. Even copying them slightly will unconsciously make them feel as though they are more connected to you and that you care.
- Words. Key words and phrases, common experiences and associations, big picture or details. Find common interests quickly. Keep changing subjects until a common interest is found. Match their vocabulary level. Some people find it more important to show their superiority and mastery of language rather than to communicate effectively. Sales people who use jargon that I am not familiar with will not get the sale. Do your best to match the vocabulary level of those with whom you speak.