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.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.


It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.


3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.


Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.


6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via

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