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How to Improve Your Rapport Development

How to Improve Your Rapport Development
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    There are plenty of great people in the world—honest, reliable, and considerate—who frequently fail in developing friendships and relationships with the people around them. If you haven’t got good social skills and body language or confidence around others, you may fall into this category.

    If that’s the case, then what you could be missing is the ability to develop rapport. If you don’t know what that is, rapport is:

    a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.

    So, if you’re terrible at cultivating this strange thing, here are a few tips to get you started.

    Smile

    Smiling bypasses the mental defences of the person you are talking to and allows them to mentally associate you with trusted friends. While that doesn’t mean you’ll instantly become a trusted friend, it does often take down the first set of defences people have built up towards other people.

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    A stony-faced, grim look on your face isn’t really going to earn you any new buddies.

    Compliments

    Praise and compliments appeal to someone’s need for recognition and admiration. That recognition is also a pretty rare thing to give and receive in modern society, so tactful and appropriate use of compliments can effectively set you apart from the bulk of unknowns and acquaintances.

    Most people can smell a false compliment from the other side of the world, so be careful. Don’t dabble in lies and look for, and wait for (as the case may be), something you can genuinely say you are impressed by.

    Benefits over Features

    You know the guy who brags, and brags, and brags? If you are anything at all like him, you might want to take some old and clichéd copywriter’s advice.

    Benefits over features means talking about what you can do for others instead of how great you are. In the copywriting context it means focusing the conversation on how the product can help the potential customer’s life, whereas a feature list would simply discuss what makes the product so great. For example:

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    • Feature: Our operating system contains a built-in state of the art firewall.
    • Benefit: The built-in firewall protects you from viruses and malicious intrusions, keeping your computer safe.

    See how you can apply this to your daily conversations and watch the results.

    Benefits over features. What do they get out of this relationship?

    Opposites Don’t Attract

    Strangely enough, oppositions in body language patterns can cause a dissonance in interpersonal relationships and create an obstacle for the development of rapport.

    Matching body language patterns, in moderation and ‘invisibly’ is a good idea. If they use hand gestures when they speak, use them. If they stare right at you when they’re talking, do the same. This idea can even extend to the voice—if you’re talking to someone with a low, monotonous voice, without changing the character of your voice in an obvious way, try and match it. If they have an expressive voice, don’t speak in monotone. Monotones are usually slightly irked by expressive speakers and vice versa.

    This is a psychological thing that bypasses the conscious mind altogether, but subconsciously the guy you’re speaking to will think you’re quite like him and develop a layer of trust or break down an obstacle in the road of rapport.

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    Make Use of Coincidences

    In a similar vein to the last tip, listen for matching interests, opinions and hobbies throughout the conversation, and reinforce your agreement. The more you have in common with someone and express it the more they’re going to perceive you as similar to themselves subconsciously.

    Accentuate similarities, and minimise differences. Don’t lie about it, though—dishonesty kills rapport. Simply focus the attention on the similarities and away from the differences.

    Let Them Talk About Themselves

    In a nod to Carnegie, most of the discussion on developing rapport will make it clear that one of the best methods of achieving this is to get the “target” (for lack of a better term) to talk about themselves.

    People love themselves. It’s a fact they may deny, but it’s true. Except, maybe, those people who call themselves “emos” but I think that may be a self-deluding farce.

    When the conversation gets onto the “target” and their personal lives, let it stay there and be interested in their spouse and kids and where they went on the weekend. Remember details such as their children’s names so you can steer the conversation in that direction at the start of each encounter to set a good tone for the rest of it.

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    Use Eye Contact

    As you probably know, eye contact is important for the development of interpersonal relationships. Use it in conversation, but break it every now and then so as not to make anyone uncomfortable.

    If you’re an introvert and not very good at making eye contact, practice a few seconds at a time. Hold it for three seconds, then four, and work your way up until you’re comfortable making eye contact how and when you please.

    Diffuse Tension

    While this next tip doesn’t necessarily help to build rapport, it does allow you to prevent your hard work from going bust. Learn to diffuse tension and prevent arguments from occurring.

    Locate the source of any tension, swallow your pride and diffuse it—whether that involves making a concession of being wrong, or keeping off the topic. Save yourself the headache of an argument before you’ve even gotten to know someone.

    The Test: How to Find Out Whether You’ve Succeeded

    There’s a simple but usually effective test to see whether you’ve made a connection and how well it has worked. If you’ve been matching body language and voice patterns, make a minor change and see if they follow it. For instance, use an expressive voice instead of a monotone one—gently, don’t go to extremes—and see if they follow your lead. If they are ‘in rapport,’ they probably will.

    Test as necessary, but unobtrusively and only for short periods of time so you don’t break rapport.

    Some people consider these tips to be in some way dishonest or manipulative. Only if you’re trying to be dishonest and manipulative, I think. I’m totally against anything that falls in those categories and encourage you to use complete honesty and sincerity at all times.

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    Joel Falconer

    Editor, content marketer, product manager and writer with 12+ years of experience in the startup, design and tech digital media industries.

    How to Master the Art of Prioritization The Importance of Scheduling Downtime How to Make Decisions Under Pressure 11 Free Mind Mapping Applications & Web Services How to Use Parkinson’s Law to Your Advantage

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    Last Updated on February 11, 2020

    17 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

    17 Things Emotionally Strong People Don’t Do

    Life is a series of stories, and each one of us has a unique story to tell. Billions upon billions of stories and no two are exactly the same. If the story of your life has been filled with more sad moments than happy ones, it’s time to change that. And the best place to start is within your head.

    You have the power to create the life you want. One crucial skill that will help you get there is learning how to become emotionally strong. The good news is emotional strength is like a muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

    Once you believe you are strong emotionally, you will unconsciously act stronger than before and begin to take control over your emotional whims. – Senora Roy

    In this article, you’ll learn how to be strong emotionally. Here’re 17 things emotionally strong people don’t do … so you can start creating the existence you’ve always imagined for yourself.

    1. They don’t beg for attention.

    Emotional strength means confidence, and confident people don’t need to constantly be the center of attention. They’re comfortable in their own skin.

    2. They don’t allow others to bring them down.

    Emotionally strong people ignore the haters and the naysayers. They weed these people out and surround themselves with positive people instead.

    3. They don’t stop believing in themselves.

    Somehow I can’t believe that there are any heights that can’t be scaled by a man who knows the secrets of making dreams come true. This special secret, it seems to me, can be summarized in four C’s:

    They are curiosity, confidence, courage, and constancy, and the greatest of all is confidence.

    When you believe in a thing, believe in it all the way, implicitly and unquestionable. – Walt Disney

    Soak up these amazing words from Walt Disney. Because belief is the most essential quality of emotional strength.

    4. They’re not afraid to love.

    Love is the force that transforms and improves the Soul of the World. – Paulo Coelho

    People who possess emotional strength have experienced heartbreak. But it doesn’t hold them back … it makes them stronger. Just because you’ve been hurt doesn’t mean you should shut love out of your life. Open up your heart and embrace vulnerability. The love you find will be worth everything you go through to get it.

    5. They’re not afraid of slowing down.

    Sometimes you need to take a step back and slow it down when you’ve been pushing yourself too hard. Having drive is great but not at the expense of your health and well-being. Allow yourself time for reflection and relaxation.

    6. They refuse to be a victim of circumstance.

    Being emotionally strong means refusing to make excuses. Leave the past behind you and focus on getting a little better every day.

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    7. They don’t have a problem saying no.

    Saying no is one of the most important things you’ll ever learn how to do. Focus on your top priorities and say no to all the stuff that’s wasting your time.

    8. They don’t back down from challenges.

    Emotionally strong people see challenges as opportunities to grow and improve their life. Challenges happen for a reason. Only when we have overcome them will we understand why they were there.

    9. They don’t do things they don’t want to do.

    If you want to keep your emotional balance and sanity intact, do what you love. Get rid of baggage and commitments that are making you miserable.

    10. They don’t forget that happiness is a decision.

    Emotionally strong people know that happiness is a choice. They understand the things they need to really be happy. They choose a life of simplicity, productivity, and passion.

    11. They don’t waste time.

    Abraham Lincoln said,

    “It’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

    Emotionally strong folks don’t waste time doing mindless crap. They live mindfully in the present, enjoying every day as if it’s their last.

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    12. They aren’t afraid to ask for help.

    Every single one of the great minds in history, from Einstein to Edison, had help along the way. You can’t do it all alone, and it takes an emotionally strong person to swallow their pride and ask for help.

    Here’s How to Ask for Help When You Feel Silly to Do So.

    13. They don’t hold themselves back.

    Self-handicapping is a common trait among emotionally weak people. What this means is you make excuses and find ways to justify your inadequacies instead of finding ways to improve on them. If you want to change something, stop holding yourself back. Just start. Small victories lead to major changes.

    14. They don’t mind working a little harder than everyone else.

    The heights by great men reached and kept were not attained by sudden flight, but they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    Soak in these poetic words from Longfellow. Put in the work, and you’ll get the results you’re looking for.

    15. They don’t overreact to things beyond their control.

    Charles Swindoll said,

    “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”

    Think about how many times a day you overreact to things that really don’t matter. When you start to feel your blood boil, take a deep breath and ask yourself, “Is this really worth getting stressed out over?” Ninety-nine percent of the time, you’ll realize the answer is no.

    16. They aren’t content with a mediocre life.

    Emotionally strong people don’t settle for mediocrity. They strive to achieve greatness.

    17. They never, ever give up.

    Being emotionally strong means staring adversity in the face, learning from your mistakes, and living to fight another day. I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote from Harriet Beecher Stowe:

    When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.

    Featured photo credit: Conner Ching via unsplash.com

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