Rapport is the key to success and influence in both your personal and professional life. It's about appreciating and working with differences. Rapport makes getting things done much easier. It means you can provide good customer service to others and enjoy being on the receiving end of it too.


A major rule in communication

"Establish rapport before expecting anyone to listen to you."


The Most effective ways to build rapport are 

1. By subtly matching non-verbal communication - especially voice patterns and eye contact patterns
2. By developing a genuine interest in the other person and in their model of the world


1. Matching non-verbal communication

Non-verbal rapport using the sound of your voice and your eye contact pattern is the quickest and most useful way to begin.
Match others by subtly matching their non-verbal behaviour. (This is sometimes called 'pacing'.)

Matching Body language: Posture - how they stand , gestures , eye contact
Matching Voice tone & Language: speed of speech, volume of speech , rhythm of speech
Matching language: When you Paraphrase and use the other person's own words to check for agreement and understanding

Paraphrasing to really understand others and build more rapport.

One of the best methods of showing others you have understood them is done by re-stating what they said back to them using their own words. (This is called Paraphrasing)

Example: “As I understand it, the issues / problems / concerns include…” and provide a precise or summary highlighting the main  points  he or she said preferrably using their own words. This ensures you are both on the same page . and you are subtly telling the other person and reassuring him/her that you fully understand and make him/her feel more comfortable.


Using your eyes 

Some Eye Contact Styles 
Spend some time observing people and you will soon recognize that there are many different eye contact styles of which the more common are:

(1) The Fixed Stare Style: their eyes never leave you and practically bore through you. Occasionally this style is used as a power trick to intimidate or to give the impression that the person is more confident than they really are.

(2) The Darting Glance Style:  They do look at you – but with very brief glances. They tend to look at you only when your gaze is averted.

(3) The No-Eye-Contact style: Their eyes rarely, if ever, meet yours.

(4) The balanced …Style: …..


Effective use of eye contact with others

To Successfully use your eyes  in inter-personal communication is to use a slightly different style with each person rather than use the one-size-fits-all approach. This is because treating each person as a unique individual is at the core of building better rapport by maximising the similarities between us and playing down the differences.. 

(1) If they use the fixed-stare: While speaking to them look at them for longer than you might otherwise do. But avoid getting into I-will-not-look-away-until-you-do competition. When you are doing the listening, give them quite sustained eye contact. (If, at first, you find this a little uncomfortable you can ease your own tension by varying your expression and by using head nods and 'Uh-huh' sounds.)

(2) If they use Darting Glances: Giving them sustained eye contact will be perceived as aggressive or even intimidating. Adopt a somewhat similar style by looking away more than might be normal for you, especially when you are doing the speaking.

(3) If they use minimal eye contact: Make much less eye contact than you might normally do. Practising using peripheral vision to watch them. 


Effective eye contact in business situations:

If you want to come across as a person to be taken seriously keep your gaze in the triangular area between the eyes and the centre of the forehead. As long as your eyes remain in that space and you keep control of the interaction the other person reckons that you’re someone who means business.


Pacing to lead

Building great relationships requires that you pace other people. As a metaphor comparing pacing people to running alongside a bus. If you tried to jump straight on to a moving bus, it's likely you'd fall off. In order to jump on a moving bus you would have to gather speed by racing alongside it until you were moving at the same speed before you could jump on.

In order to lead somebody, to influence them with your point of view, remember to pace them first. This means really listening to them, fully acknowledging them, truly understanding where they have come from-and being patient about it.


2. Taking a genuine interest in others One of the most effective ways of creating rapport and it is where most effective rapport occurs because of your genuine interest in the other person. One of the best ways to show others you care is to ask them questions about them , people love to talk about themselves.

It's a known fact that "Everybody likes to talk about themselves"  So one of the best things to take advantage of that is to ask others questions about them, their family and way of life.


6 Quick ways to sharpen your rapport:

1- Take a genuine interest in getting to know what's important to the other person. Start to understand them rather than expecting them to understand you first.

2-Pick up on the key words, favorite phrases, and way of speaking that someone uses and build these into your conversation.

3- Notice how someone likes to handle information. Do they like lots of details or just the big picture? As you speak, feedback information in this same portion size.

4- Look out for the other person's intention - their underlying aim-rather than what they do or say. In other words, pay attention to the 'Subtext' , the words between the lines and what people really mean to communicate not only what they say. 

5- Adopt a similar stance to them in terms of body language, gestures, voice tone and speed.

6-Respect the other person's time, energy, favorite people, and money. they are important resources for them.