What does it mean and how can I create it with anyone?
Rapport: The process of establishing and maintaining a relationship of mutual trust and understanding between two or more people. The ability to generate responses from other people.
I think that rapport is a lovely word and it has a wonderful natural way of rolling off your tongue, and that is what building and maintaining a relationship with another person should be like – natural!
So, how do you recognize when one person has rapport with another? Communication seems to flow when two people are in rapport; their bodies as well as their words match each other. What we say can create or destroy rapport, but remember from our previous article, this only constitutes 7% of any communication.
Body language and tonality are much more important components. Rapport with a close friend or a colleague whom you trust is incredibly easy to recognize, and you don’t have to be a body language expert to recognize the signs. People with rapport usually sit very close to each other, and, if you look at their body language you would notice that they are more than likely mirroring each other’s body positions, albeit unconsciously as they engage in a ‘dance of mutual responsiveness’. They usually breathe at the same rate as each other and at the same tempo, and they’re usually comfortable with touching each other. It’s a fantastic position to be in to be able to communicate more effectively with an individual or group and a superb way of gaining and projecting personal confidence.
Successful people create rapport and rapport creates trust!
So how can you gain and maintain rapport with anyone? And I do mean anyone, for just like any or other skill, it’s something that can be learned with a little practice. You can easily create rapport with anyone you wish to, even with a person whom you dislike or they dislike you by consciously refining and practicing the communication skills you use every day.
When people are like each other, they like each other – simple!
Matching eye contact is the first obvious step to take, without staring pointedly at the other person and making them feel uncomfortable. By mirroring and matching body language and voice tonality and speed, you can very quickly gain rapport with anyone. Again, mirroring and matching does not mean simply copying someone’s body positions and movements. We are talking about the subtle and elegant art of small unobtrusive movements: moving a hand instead of an arm, your head in response to a body movement, your feet in tandem with a leg movement. You can even match body posture and the distribution of bodyweight. Matching your breathing rate is a very powerful way of gaining rapport, and you may already have noticed that when two people are deeply in rapport they automatically breathe in unison. Don’t just take my word for this, try it and don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun!
All these exercises and much more can be learnt and experienced firsthand by booking an appointment with Garth Delikan – The Lifestyle Guy, where all these principles and techniques will be taught to you and your department in a fun role play situation where you will gain a greater understanding of everything covered in this article.