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.