The reality is that we all need to get along with people at some point in our lives, whether it be at work or home – so it really does pay off to be able to persuasively state your opinions when you need to.
Take work for example – you may not realize it, but regardless of your official job title – it’s likely that you are frequently in a situation where you’ll need to sell either your ‘point of view’ or yourself for that matter! Simple things like ‘asking for a day off’ or ‘giving your boss an update on your progress’ all require an element of selling.
And the most important part of selling is the ability to be ‘persuasive’: to be able to present your case in a favorable light that will get you the best outcome. Lets face it – the more you are able to ‘influence’ people around you, the more you can achieve in life.
Rapport is one of the most underutilized methods of persuasion. Many people do it naturally, while others are unknowingly behaving in ways that ‘break’ rapport and create adverse reactions. A large element of rapport boils down to body language. Subconsciously our body language will build deeper relationships with those we naturally admire and weaken connections with those we may be intimidated by or less impressed with.
Let’s explore a few handy tips to use body language, voice matching and observation skills to your advantage so that you can become naturally more persuasive.
5 Tips To Become More Persuasive By Building Rapport
1. ‘Match’ your body language to the person you’re talking to.
So if they cross their right leg, then you cross your right leg too, if they put their left hand on their hip, you do the same. Be careful not to be too obvious with this – subtlety is key!
2. ‘Mirror’ your body language.
Similar to ‘matching’, you simply ‘mirror’ body language. So if the person you’re speaking with makes a hand gesture with their right hand, when you start to speak you would make a similar hand gesture with the opposite hand (so it’s like you are mirroring them). Again – be sure to be subtle!
3. Change the volume of your voice to suit the person you are speaking with.
If their voice is soft then it pays off not to shout at them! Similarly if they have a loud booming voice, you should adjust your voice so that it is confident and loud to match their style
4. Change the speed of your voice so it’s in time with your conversation.
If your peer speaks very slowly the worst thing you could do is talk really quickly at them as this will break rapport and result in frustration and feelings of awkwardness! It’s important to match the ‘pace’ of the person you are speaking with.
5. Notice what’s important to them.
Listen for words or topics that keep coming up. This is what’s important to them, so they will feel like you’re really listening to them if you repeat the same words or focus on the same topics when it’s your turn to talk. An example: if your boss keeps using the word ‘priorities’ then make sure you also use this same word when you are reviewing your workload for the week. This really makes them feel understood and builds your relationship at a subconscious level
The purpose of rapport is to build a deeper connection with someone so be careful not to go over the top with your approach. If someone feels like you are ‘mimicking’ them then you’ll get a bad reaction! Remember that subtlety and sincerity is key!
Have a go at using the methods I mention above and notice how much easier it is to be persuasive once you have built up some rapport first! For example if you need to ask a favour of someone, don’t steam straight in and ask them! Take the time to build up rapport by focusing on the other person first – you’ll be surprised by how much this will impact their response to your request. And you might just find they are more willing to help you!
Once you’ve nailed the rapport side of things the next step is to learn how to win any argument…
(Photo credit: The Bait via Shutterstock)