Rapport happens where two or more people mutually like and feel comfortable being around one another. As we all desire connection with others, developing rapport is an essential element of having a successful life. Being in rapport helps us to feel joyful, share our experiences, overcome our challenges and achieve our goals.
You will already be doing most of the following techniques that I am about to share with you, quite naturally, from years of watching and learning from other people. The idea here though, is to use these techniques consciously so you can be more effective in a whole range of social contexts.
As you already know people can be easily turned off by the closed or hostile body language of others, their harsh tones, inappropriate language, inadequate eye contact or bad attitudes. Potential conflict and negative feelings can be avoided when people choose to become more aware of how they use their body, voice and words!
8 Easy ways to establish rapport with others
- Believe that people want to communicate with you as long as you are flexible in your approach and take on board the signals you receive from them.
- Smile and give eye contact, and adopt an open and friendly posture. Use specific gestures that have the positive effect of helping the other person feel as ease. (See my book for examples.)
- Introduce yourself by using your name, with a handshake, and quickly find out the other people’s names. Address your listeners by name, as this will help you to remember them more easily when you meet them again in the future. This will further enhance your rapport with them.
- Calibrate on your listeners’ body language by noticing the changes in their physiology, as they begin to interact with you. Observe that their eyes may become more focused and dilated as they delight in having a conversation with you. Their lower lips will puff up, their hands and feet will darken slightly and their skin will become shiny, as blood circulates more freely in their bodies and they feel more alive. Their breathing will slow down, deepen and become more relaxed. It does require some practice to notice subtle change in people.
- Use your voice for emphasis, including pausing, tone, tempo, timbre, and volume.
- Speak language that is familiar to your listener or that they can identify with or understand, including particular keywords, content chunks, and specific, sensory-based words.
- Maximize the use of the physical space around you for maximum effect. For example, you may choose to sit down if the other person is seated.
- Start to move the dialogue in a specific direction, to achieve a particular outcome, such as teaching a new skill, solving a problem or overcoming a misunderstanding etc. It is easier to do this when the conversation feels comfortable and rapport has been established.
Have fun practicing these techniques. The reward will be that you enjoy spending time with others in a more meaningful, productive and enjoyable way and there is the likelihood that more opportunities to benefit your own life and that of others will occur!
Gaye O’Brien shares insights from her International Best-Selling book, “NLP Essentials for Teachers”. She is a Life and Business Coach, Time Line Therapist, Hypnotherapist and Certified NLP Trainer. As a catalyst for transformational change, Gaye explores her journey in an inspirational, educational and entertaining way, with businesses and individuals who desire to make their greatest contribution to the planet and co-create a more enlightened world.