7 Simple Steps To Build Rapport Instantly

7 Simple Steps To Build Rapport Instantly

Does building rapport seem like some sort of mysterious skill you just don’t seem to posses? Worry not! With these seven simple steps, you’ll move from stranger to buddy with just about anybody in almost no time at all.

1) Smile sincerely.

A genuine I-love-my-life, isn’t-it-a-wonderful-day, what-could-be-better-than-this-moment smile is the best way to invite someone new into your world. Smiling at someone communicates a lot of information very quickly. A smile says, “Hello! I’m not threatening. And I like you,” all in a simple gesture that takes less than a second. There is a catch though: if you’re feeling tense and smiling anyway, people will notice. Don’t force a smile when you’re not feeling happy, instead, find a way to enjoy the moment and produce a genuine smile. Forced or tense smiles will not build rapport and will likely leave the recipient feeling confused and suspicious.


2) Make eye contact.

Eye contact is another way to quickly communicate a lot of information. Eye contact tells the other person that you care about what they’re saying. It lets others know that you’re paying attention and noticing them. Eye contact can also convey a lot of emotional content, we can easily tell by looking someone in the eye whether they’re feeling happy, sad, confused, irritated or shy. Take note of your observations as you make eye contact‒you’ll use them in a later step to build even more rapport very quickly.

3) Mirror the other person.

We humans are social creatures, and scientists have found that when we’re feeling connected to one another, we often mirror each other’s physical posture and movement. Have you ever noticed how when you’re on a really great date, you tend to take a drink at the very same time? That’s called social mirroring and you can use it to help build rapport. Again, it doesn’t work well to awkwardly fake this; instead, tune into the person you’re connecting with and allow your body to naturally begin to mirror the other person’s posture. You might lean in, smile at the same times or touch your face. Or, if the other person is more closed off and distant, you may cross your arms, lean back or look away. Either way, you’re building rapport, because when someone is feeling distant, they will still feel more connected to someone else who is equally distant than they would to someone barging into their space.


4) Touch to convey camaraderie.

If you’re noticing some connection happening already, physical touch can be a great way to take things even further. A handshake, a pat on the back or a shoulder nudge convey a sense of friendship and camaraderie. You do need to be careful not to overdo this one though. Too much physical touch too early can come off as needy and desperate. But if used sparingly, you can almost always find a good excuse for some kind of physical touch. Getting someone’s attention by touching their shoulder is a socially acceptable form of touch, even for strangers. And there’s just something comforting about being around people who are okay with physical touch.

5) Get curious.

If there’s one universal human truth, it’s that people love to talk about themselves. So the more curious you can be about another person, and the better a listener you are, the more likely others are able to feel comfortable and walk away from an interaction liking you. Imagine your own experiences of the opposite. Have you ever met someone who wouldn’t let you get a word in edgewise? This person just kept talking about themselves all night long without even a question for you and certainly without a concern about how incredibly bored you were. Don’t be that person. Instead, get genuinely curious about what makes this other person tick. What are their likes and dislikes? What are they passionate about? What are their dreams? Building rapport is all about showing an interest in the other person and being likable. So trust me; let them do more of the talking and you’ll build better rapport every single time.


6) Appreciate, and show it.

On the other hand, you can’t just check out and forget what the other person is sharing. You do have to actually stay engaged, and one of the best ways to be joyfully engaged is to practice appreciation. When we’re enjoying and appreciating someone else, we naturally do the things I’ve already mentioned. We smile more, make more eye contact, reach out to touch them, mirror their posture and want to know more about them. But sharing your appreciation is where it becomes an art form.

Sure, a lot of your appreciation comes across in your body language or the kind look in your eye, but if you want to kick things up a notch, try verbally sharing something specific that you’re appreciating. “Wow, I noticed that when you talked about your mom, your smile was so warm and I could just feel how much you love her. It’s heartwarming to be around someone who loves their mom as much as you do.” Or, “Ha! When you just mentioned that thing about your boss, I thought, wow, I’m glad we don’t work together! You’re feisty and I like it!” One more note on this: the more authentic and real you can be as you share what you’re appreciating, the better. Just making something up or saying something canned won’t come across as genuine. Instead, find something you truly appreciate, even if it seems odd or off-the-wall. Everyone I know would prefer a unique but real moment of appreciation to some canned line about pretty eyes.


7) Share a highlight.

In the same vein, after you’ve been talking for a while, but before the conversation ends, share a highlight with the other person. This leaves them with a moment in time that you most enjoyed during your encounter, and it almost always garners a smile and a, “wow, that was fun,” kind of feeling. For example, “It’s been really great talking with you, and you know, my favorite moment was when I told you that joke and you almost spit your drink out all over the table. That was awesome.” Or, “I’ve really had fun talking with you, but I felt the closest to you when you got all choked up talking about your dad. Thanks for sharing that with me.”

So there you have it: seven simple steps to quickly building rapport with anybody! I would love to hear how it goes, so please feel free to try these out and report back.

More by this author

9 Gentle Parenting Hacks That Really Work 7 Simple Steps To Build Rapport Instantly 10 Secrets to Making Lifelong Friends Do You Recognize the 4 Warning Signs of an Impending Toddler Meltdown? 6 Secrets to Getting Kids to Cooperate

Trending in Communication

110 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks 2When You Start to Enjoy Being Single, These 12 Things Will Happen 321 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work 4The Skill That Most People Don’t Have: Active Listening 518 Signs You’ve Found Your Soulmate

Read Next


Last Updated on August 16, 2018

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

10 Ways To Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone And Enjoy Taking Risks

The ability to take risks by stepping outside your comfort zone is the primary way by which we grow. But we are often afraid to take that first step.

In truth, comfort zones are not really about comfort, they are about fear. Break the chains of fear to get outside. Once you do, you will learn to enjoy the process of taking risks and growing in the process.

Here are 10 ways to help you step out of your comfort zone and get closer to success:

1. Become aware of what’s outside of your comfort zone

What are the things that you believe are worth doing but are afraid of doing yourself because of the potential for disappointment or failure?

Draw a circle and write those things down outside the circle. This process will not only allow you to clearly identify your discomforts, but your comforts. Write identified comforts inside the circle.

2. Become clear about what you are aiming to overcome

Take the list of discomforts and go deeper. Remember, the primary emotion you are trying to overcome is fear.


How does this fear apply uniquely to each situation? Be very specific.

Are you afraid of walking up to people and introducing yourself in social situations? Why? Is it because you are insecure about the sound of your voice? Are you insecure about your looks?

Or, are you afraid of being ignored?

3. Get comfortable with discomfort

One way to get outside of your comfort zone is to literally expand it. Make it a goal to avoid running away from discomfort.

Let’s stay with the theme of meeting people in social settings. If you start feeling a little panicked when talking to someone you’ve just met, try to stay with it a little longer than you normally would before retreating to comfort. If you stay long enough and practice often enough, it will start to become less uncomfortable.

4. See failure as a teacher

Many of us are so afraid of failure that we would rather do nothing than take a shot at our dreams.


Begin to treat failure as a teacher. What did you learn from the experience? How can you take that lesson to your next adventure to increase your chance of success?

Many highly successful people failed plenty of times before they succeeded. Here’re some examples:

10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

5. Take baby steps

Don’t try to jump outside your comfort zone, you will likely become overwhelmed and jump right back in.

Take small steps toward the fear you are trying to overcome. If you want to do public speaking, start by taking every opportunity to speak to small groups of people. You can even practice with family and friends.

Take a look at this article on how you can start taking baby steps:


The Number One Secret to Life Success: Baby Steps

6. Hang out with risk takers

There is no substitute for this step. If you want to become better at something, you must start hanging out with the people who are doing what you want to do and start emulating them. (Here’re 8 Reasons Why Risk Takers Are More Likely To Be Successful).

Almost inevitably, their influence will start have an effect on your behavior.

7. Be honest with yourself when you are trying to make excuses

Don’t say “Oh, I just don’t have the time for this right now.” Instead, be honest and say “I am afraid to do this.”

Don’t make excuses, just be honest. You will be in a better place to confront what is truly bothering you and increase your chance of moving forward.

8. Identify how stepping out will benefit you

What will the ability to engage in public speaking do for your personal and professional growth? Keep these potential benefits in mind as motivations to push through fear.


9. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Risk taking will inevitably involve failure and setbacks that will sometimes make you look foolish to others. Be happy to roll with the punches when others poke fun.

If you aren’t convinced yet, check out these 6 Reasons Not to Take Life So Seriously.

10. Focus on the fun

Enjoy the process of stepping outside your safe boundaries. Enjoy the fun of discovering things about yourself that you may not have been aware of previously.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via

Read Next