Rapport isn’t a dirty word!

“If there’s anything that you need, or want to achieve, then you will probably need someone’s help in getting it!”

It’s true, isn’t it.

Even Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Helen Mirren, Anita Roddick and Lady Gaga have all needed someone’s help to be great in business and achieve their accomplishments.

So what is rapport?

The basis of rapport is that when people are like each other, they like each other. And when people are not like each other, they don’t generally like each other. Sounds simple enough, but think about it…

Sure you’ll take the way someone styles themselves into consideration however you’ll often care more about their unconscious drivers. It’s what they stand for that matters to you most – their values, attitudes, beliefs, ethics, background. Their looks and style make up the outside picture but it’s the inside that you’ll judge to see if it’s a match with yours. It doesn’t have to be the same but you will want to like them them for what they offer.

And, what’s more is you’ll assess in an instant whether someone is congruent (genuine) with what they say, how they behaviour and their results.

“When you like someone, you are willing to assist them in having whatever they want.”

When you truly like someone, even if you have differing opinions, you respect them, and therefore you are willing to support them so they can achieve their goals.

Imagine a few of these scenarios:

  • You want someone to give you the latest sales figures and you need them in a hurry…
  • You forgot to action something that was critical to the outcome and you need to call on a favour or three…
  • You want your staff to perform at their best…
  • Being able to help customers make great buying choices by purchasing your products and services…
  • Being a likeable, approachable, friendly, happy person…
  • One of your friends, colleagues, boss, assistant, children, spouse is totally stressed out and you want to help them see other options that all is not as chaotic as what it appears right now…
  • It’s peak hour at the supermarket and all the aisles are chock-a-block with people and overflowing items and you only have 2…
  • Asking someone to hold the lift, hold your dog, feed your cat, help you move, pick-up your dry-cleaning, make you a cuppa or dinner or cake these are all occasions where being able to get into rapport will help make life easier.

Rapport isn’t a dirty word. In fact, it is an essential part of being a charismatic communicator. It’s about win/win/win and helping each other navigate through the tough stuff so you can reduce your stress and increase your happiness.

No matter what you do, the ability to create and maintain rapport with large numbers of people of varying backgrounds and age will allow you to receive what you want. That means that easily developing rapport will have a positive impact on helping you achieving your results.

Even though the basic principles of rapport are matching and mirroring, it is so much more than that. It’s the combination of what you do, what you say AND who you are.

“Rapport is probably the most important skill on the planet.”

Ever thought someone was sleazy or dodgy? (these are the technical terms) And wondered why? There was just something about them that wasn’t genuine or respectful or you got the feeling you wouldn’t trust them. And because of this you didn’t do business with them, or sign a contract, or go on a date or even choose to see them again! This is the power of what we’re talking about here.

Have you ever done something kind and generous for a complete stranger? Ever wondered why you did it? The way they looked, what they said, the way the made you feel? What about we flip the coin; now think of a time when you may have gone out of your way not to be helpful to someone, once again ever wondered why? Chances are they rubbed you up the wrong way somehow – and this means you were out of rapport and were mis-matching each other, so tension or disconnection of ideas and communication occurred.

As it’s postulated in the communication equation; 38% of all communication is tone of voice (how you say something), and 55% is physiology (your body language) whilst a mere 7% is the words we use. That’s a whopping 93% of our communication is non-verbal, outside of our conscious awareness. So wouldn’t you agree there is a tremendous opportunity that exists for communication outside of normal channels, and that’s what rapport is all about.

Let’s play a game. Can you remember a time when you felt quiet and calm and when you were in this state you met up with someone who was super excited? Do you remember the feelings in your body when that happened?

Or can you remember being in a really excited state, and talking to someone in a really slow chilled out state. Remember how it drove you crazy waiting for the other person to catch up?

Please, know that neither of these modes or states of operation is wrong, they’re just how people operate. To be a master communicator, you must develop flexibility within your own behaviour. You will also need to keep in mind that you will communicate best with people, when you employ THEIR primary modality.

“Too often, however, communication takes place in a system where people are unconsciously mis-matching each other.”

Here are some key points to watch, listen and do:

  • Sit or stand in a similar position to the person you would like to be in rapport with. For example: sit with a similar posture, spine angle, foot / arm positions. Be conscious of this when first entering a conversation with someone and soon enough you will naturally move in sync with each other.
  • Speak in a similar tempo to the other person. If someone is slower in their talking style this indicates they may be Kinaesthetic so slow way down. Or if someone is talking really quickly it indicates they are visual so speed the way you talk up to match them. The great thing about voice tone and tempo is you can lead someone to a more resourceful state by simply playing with the pitch and speed you speak.
  • Use similar facial expressions – breathe at a similar tempo, blink at a similar rate (these are both great because they are outside the conscious awareness)
  • Feedback keywords that your client, colleague, boss most commonly uses to acknowledge what they’ve said.

Ultimately when all is said and done the most important aspect of communication is when you are truly heard. That’s all we want. To be heard, valued and appreciated. So when we truly listen to what someone is saying, when we listen generously to what is really being said they will open up and share more of themselves and as a natural consequence so will you. And this is the art and science of communicating. Listen to what has been said and demonstrate you’ve been listening by being open with you body language, feeding back their keywords so they will on an unconscious level know that they have been heard.

So what if you are on the phone – does it still work? Absolutely. You simply listen to how they speak and then speak in a similar way. Then the more the rapport builds you can them move through the colour and shade of conversations continually taking note of how the receiver is receiving you. Notice what I said then… Become curious as to how your story is being received by others and then adjust accordingly.

“This is what will give you the most flexibility and help you become masterful.”

There are 4 indicators that will help you know when you are in rapport with someone:

  1. Internal feeling – A feeling of warmth inside or butterflies
  2. Colour change – cheeks flush
  3. They say something – like ‘Have we met before?’
  4. Leading – when you move and a few moments later they do too

Imagine the next time you are in a business meeting you actually put yourself to be 100% present to what is being said. You listen intently, pick out what you believe are the key points the person is sharing, feed them back without judgement, but instead to demonstrate your understanding and then proceed from there to create winning outcomes for all involved.

When you are masterful with building rapport it will give you flexibility to adjust accordingly regardless of who is in front of you. When your intent is to have a winning solution for all involved rapport will help you achieve terrific results and have fun along the way.

© Be Brilliant Now

Julie-Anne ‘Jewells’ Black is an international speaker, author and creator of Be Brilliant Now. Her training programs show emerging leaders how to be bold, sassy and influential communicators in life and business.

She’ll help you escape Groundhog Day, direct their future and be the star of their life.

Julie-Anne combines 22 years experience to share the secrets she’s learnt both on camera and behind the scenes as a production manager for the Sydney Olympic Games Opening Ceremony and top television producer for some of Australia’s favourite TV shows including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. She’s been interviewed for radio in Australia and USA and featured in publications CLEO, MX and Executive PA among others.

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