How to Build Rapport

Why is building rapport vital in leadership?

As John C. Maxwell once said, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

Rapport is defined as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well with each other (Websters). Building rapport and engaging people takes practice and much of it is based on intuition.  Below are some tips:

  1. Make a memorable impression.  Dress appropriately for the occasion, smile, make eye contact and show enthusiasm for what you doing – when you enjoy what you do, it shows.
  2. Be genuine.  “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”- Oscar Wilde.  You are unique with special gifts and talents – use them. not try to mimic something you are not.
  3. Show interest in hearing what others are thinking.  Ask questions.  Don’t think of a reply while the other person is talking; it limits hearing what is being said.  Be people-focused, not self-focused.
  4. Find common ground.  Use open-ended questions to discover sincere, common experiences or ways to connect based on similar interests.
  5. It’s all in the name!  Remember the other person’s name and use it in the conversation.  It’s a powerful word to the other person.
  6. Consider asking for help with a simple, non-invasive request.  People feel naturally connected to those that ask for help.
  7. Give genuine compliments.  This can go a long way towards building rapport and people appreciate it.
  8. Mirror body language.  Subtly mimicking same posture and body movements, gestures, and facial expressions helps build rapport by appearing in agreement or in support with the other person.
  9. Lose the ego.  Avoid correcting people or saying anything that could be interpreted as one-upmanship.
  10. Consider small gifts.  When people are offered something whether a physical token or with time and support, they often feel the desire to help you in return , or are more receptive to what you have to say.
  11. Have a positive attitude – this helps ensure the other person walks away feeling better for having talked with you.

How are you going to practice building rapport today?  Practice, practice, practice … makes perfect.

Want More Engaged Employees?

Disengaged employees bring down morale, productivity and cost money – replacing an employee can set a company back more than three times the employee’s annual salary, according to a Gallup report.

Many companies have discovered a surefire way to increase employee engagement – corporate volunteer programs.  These programs allow employers to connect with their employees by supporting charitable pursuits important to them.
How does workplace volunteering translate into better workplace engagement?

1. Employee volunteer programs lend purpose and meaning.
Commitment to one’s work gives employees a sense of purpose, and companies are learning that an excellent conduit to this feeling is involvement in cause.  Seventy-one percent of employees who participated in an LBG Associates survey about employee volunteer programs indicated that they felt more positive about their company as a result of these programs.  Many business leaders find that purpose-driven work through cause is linked to boosted morale and productivity, which inevitably affects corporate bottom lines.  Organizations are realizing that if you give employees the opportunity to give back, they’ll have a renewed appreciation for the importance of their jobs.

2.  Employee volunteer programs are a critical tool for employee recruitment and retention.
Employees want to take pride in their work and company, and when they do, they tend to stay. Volunteer programs are a superb channel to create an engaged corporate culture that attracts top talent and keeps them on the job.  Corporate volunteerism report by Deloitte showed that workplace volunteer programs are important even to those who don’t typically volunteer in their private time; 61% of millennials who rarely or never volunteer would consider a company’s commitment to the community when making a job decision.

3. Employee volunteer programs provide strong platforms for leadership and skills development.
An employee volunteer program allows workers to expand skills, build upon strengths and connect with their community.  Indeed, 90% of human resources professionals say that pro-bono volunteering is an effective way to develop leadership skills.  Volunteering can also develop soft skills that are instrumental in a business environment, such as problem-solving, mentoring and communications. That’s why these programs are excellent breeding grounds for new talent, allowing a neutral space for employee training and growth at a relatively low cost to the company.
Some other important benefits include:

  • Employee development
  • Encouraging teamwork
  • Improved communication
  • Building brand awareness
  • Improved employee retention
  • Providing subject matter for corporate content creation

While company volunteer program strategies may vary, one thing is certain: engaging employees through volunteering infuses jobs with purpose-filled work that increases workers’ chances of remaining happy, productive and loyal.


Article excerpt from Ryan Scott, CausecastBlog