In this post we’ll unpack all you need to know about rapport, defining exactly what it is, the key to establishing it and more.
What Is Rapport?
Rapport is a state of harmonious understanding and trust with another individual or group. It’s that sense of being “in sync” which ultimately creates a connection.
Rapport is crucial to success in both personal and professional relationships. Not only does it strengthen bonds, but it puts you in an optimum position to influence.
How To Establish Rapport
Establishing rapport is both a science and an art. The science aspect is about the theory. The art aspect is about your unique individual application of that theory.
People like people who are like themselves or who are like who they want to be.
Therefore, the key to establishing rapport is to establish commonalities. Commonalities create familiarity, familiarity creates comfort and comfort ultimately creates trust.
From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense because in prehistoric times, modelling the behaviour of others was used as a social device to help us successfully fit into large groups or tribes.
Thus, there are two vehicles through which we can establish commonalities; through verbal communication and non-verbal communication. Below we’ll unpack each.
- Verbal Communication
Verbal communication refers to any communication that involves words.
The key to establishing commonalities through verbal communication is by asking questions and then by mirroring back what someone says.
Asking questions not only makes your recipient feel important, but it puts you in a prime position to uncover and identify shared commonalities or interests. Mirroring back what they say signals to them that you are engaged and listening.
- Nonverbal Communication
Nonverbal communication refers to communication that involves body language.
The key to establishing commonalities through nonverbal communication is by Mirroring & Matching.
Mirroring & Matching simply involves modelling someone’s nonverbal behaviours, including breathing patterns, postures, gestures, language, volume and speed of speech and tone of voice.
A quick way to test for nonverbal rapport is to alter your own body language and then observe whether or not your recipient follows your lead. If they do, you’ve established rapport. If they don’t, you need to begin the process again.
“Mimicry triggers the release of dopamine in the brain of both the person modelling and the person being modelled.”
Rapport refers to the harmonious relationship generated as a result of understanding and trust with another individual or group and is crucial in both personal and professional relationships.
The key to establishing it is to establish commonalities through the use of verbal communication and nonverbal communication.