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How to build rapport with anyone in Five easy steps

The art of communication is essential in all aspects of life and business, but it hasn’t always been easy to master. So, when I discovered NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), I was excited to see how simple learning to effectively communicate can be. And it all starts with building rapport.

What does it mean to build rapport?

If you go back far enough, you’ll find that rapport is a very tribal thing. It has banded people together in the pursuit of a common goal for centuries. Whether that be for safety, survival or finding ways to prosper.

Tribal culture may have broken down over the years. However, humanity still holds this survival instinct and the desire to exist in groups or with like-minded individuals.

When we’re in rapport with someone, we like and trust them enough to communicate openly and effectively and influence one another’s thoughts, actions or decisions. It’s about finding common qualities in a relationship made up of four components;

  • Body language

  • Language

  • Delivery of language

  • Shared feelings, beliefs and attitudes

Why is building rapport important in business?

Rapport is the bedrock of building trust and connection with a client or colleague and developing relationships to help you achieve your goals. Having a great rapport with someone will determine a level of respect that leads to influence and leadership.

Signs of great rapport

When we communicate with others, they take 7% of our meaning from words, 38% from our tone and vocal qualities and 55% from our body language. That means that 93% of the message we’re sending is being received from unconscious communication!

Building rapport is often about being observant and intuitive, so when you’ve built a great connection with someone, you’ll notice some very organic signs;

  • A flush in their face (or yours) – This is an indication of an energy rush.

  • A feeling of connection and familiarity.

  • There’ll be verbal cues. For example, they’ll ask if you’ve met before or relate your conversation to previous situations.

  • You will lead your communication partner, either with or without intention.

  • Your words will become their thoughts, words or actions.

How to build rapport with anyone

There are five critical steps to building rapport with anyone, but I want to focus on the most important; mirroring and matching.

Mirroring and matching are techniques we teach in NLP used by plenty of influential communicators worldwide. Barack Obama is a great example!

When he wants to build rapport with someone, whether a world leader, a crowd of people, or simply a member of his staff, he observes their body language, communication styles, values, and moves to match and mirror these actions. It instantly builds comfort and kinship and creates an environment for open communication.

The key things to match and mirror in someone you’re wanting to build rapport with are:

  • Breathing pattern

  • Eye contact

  • Energy level

  • Facial expressions

  • Gestures

  • Keywords

  • Language

  • Posture

  • Volume and speed of speech

  • Tone of voice

Now, you don’t copy someone precisely because that will only look creepy and put others on high alert. It’s about being subtle, natural and relaxed, adapting as you need to and ultimately showing respect for the other person’s communication style.

I love this topic and could go into so much more detail on building rapport. So, if you’d like to dive in deep with me, you can join my free webinar on Building Your Business In 3 Easy Steps With NLP. And, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Until then, please give these techniques a go and instantly build rapport with someone in your life.

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