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Written by Jimmie Burroughs – Email to a friend
One of the greatest techniques of making friends and influencing people is knowing how to build rapport. Rapport is the feeling of trusting someone and being comfortable around them. Building rapport in everyday life can help with sales, persuading others to see your point of view, in developing better teamwork, getting dates, receiving raises or getting larger tips. If those things are important to you, here are three primary things that work:
- Make others feel comfortable in your presence
- Make others feel appreciated
- Make others feel important
Make others feel comfortable in your presence
If you will take notice, it is somewhat amazing how little a lot of people understand about building rapport. You probably have experienced, as I have, meeting someone you haven’t seen in a long time and them not seeming to care how you are, or what you have been doing. It is for sure that this type of person will not make you feel comfortable in their presence? It takes so little effort to show appreciation, but it makes a world of difference. If you want to make others feel comfortable around you and build rapport, you will have to know the rules and follow them consistently.
People like to be around those who make them feel comfortable. Did you ever try to talk with someone who made you feel like they rather you not be there? It may be that they just don’t have a clue on how to build rapport and in some cases they may not even want to even though that is a rude approach. Remember, when you meet someone, they are to be treated as a valued and honored guest in your world; they are the center of attention, not yourself. You are theirs one hundred percent while you are in their presence. If it is a new person that you are meeting for the first time, you only have a narrow window of time to create the right impression. Therefore, you must be at your very best. Avoid any negativism, complaints, sarcasm or criticism. Neither is this time to talk about the weather or last night’s big game unless they bring it up. You want to center on something that they are very much interested in.
There is an interesting concept called mirroring another’s body language. The concept is based on the fact that people like other people who are like them. When you mirror someone, you are using similar gestures, not copying their exact gestures. This gives them the subconscious impression that you are like them, and they will like you without really consciously knowing why. It is at the level of the subconscious mind where rapport happens.
Mirroring is not as hard as it sounds because we already have a natural tendency to mimic others as we talk to them. It can be uncomfortable to the other person, however, if your actions are obviously mocking them, but the object is to make sure that they aren’t.
It is also very important to notice the other person’s style of communication. Each person has their own way of getting their point across. If you want to be understood, speak the other person’s language, I‘m not talking about foreign language, but using their style of communication; otherwise it might be like you are speaking another language.
Good communication is not just the word’s we use. Research has proven that only seven percent of communication is a result of the words we use. Thirty-eight percent is by the tone of the voice and other characteristics that make up the unique voice of an individual. By far the largest means of communication, represented by fifty five percent, is physiology, or body language. This impresses the importance of mirroring to build rapport, and to maximize our effectiveness in communicating our message.
It is an innate trait among humans to want to be around those who are like them, but in the world of communication we must take on a different approach. It is the other person’s interest, although it may be opposite your own. You must drop the selfish trait of not trusting those who are different and embrace a person based on a different set of rules.
It is true that some have a natural ability to make others feel comfortable in their presence, but in most cases it is an acquired ability. A good way to learn how to build rapport is to watch and listen to the most popular person in the next group meeting you attend, or the next time you are made to feel comfortable in someone’s presence. Don’t think that rapport building is just a natural attribute; it is a human relationship skill that can be learned and taught.
“The key to doing building rapport is to draw upon other experiences in your life where rapport-building came naturally.” Dr. Earl Taylor, president of Dale Carnegie Training’s North Carolina practice
Make others feel important
I remember one time when I met with a man in his office who was very successful and was widely known, not only in the U.S., but across the world. I had the greatest appreciation for him and his accomplishments. However, on this occasion I was a guest in his world, and I must say, I have never felt more comfortable. There was not the least bit of evidence by his actions or conversation that this man was the famous person that he was, but instead he was humble and made himself be on my level and made me feel important. He was a man who truly knew how to build rapport. I have also talked with others who were important people, who conveyed the impression that they were a lot higher and far more important. Obviously, even though they were successful, they didn’t have a clue about how to build rapport.
The best advice on how to make others feel important is to make yourself appear not to be important, but instead just a regular guy. Focus your attention on the other person and their interest; pay close attention to what they say, and avoid at all cost trying to upstage them with your superior knowledge.
Make others feel appreciated
When you really feel an appreciation for the person you are talking to, like a hidden message it will be known to them. So really it is more your attitude and inner feelings that make the greatest impression. If you have negative feelings toward a person, it will be almost impossible to hide them. On the other hand if you feel positive about a person, they will know that you care enough about them to make a special effort to show your appreciation. Showing appreciation is a rare quality. If you are one who can freely show your appreciation of others, you are ahead of the majority of other people, and will become an expert at building rapport.
Don’t wait for others to approach you first; always assume the responsibility to open the conservation with a friendly initial greeting. Start the conversation in the terms of the other person’s concerns and issues, and if they are a good conversationalist, they will also be concerned about your interest, but if not, that’s OK because your purpose is building rapport, not exalting self. Use open ended questions, and avoid questions that can be answered with a word or two.
If you know something about the person, ask questions about something that they are involved in. Repeat in a concise way what they say and agree, or say something like, “I like that; it’s really neat.” The person may not remember much of what was talked about, but they will remember how well you made them feel for a very long time.
Once you learn how to build rapport, do it consistently, and you will discover that people will start to welcome you anywhere you go; your sales will go up; you will have more friends and your life will take on a new and exciting dimension.
Further reading: “3 Ways to get people to like you in 60 Seconds or Less”
About the author: Jimmie Burroughs is a motivational speaker and author who has been involved in teaching Christian Personal Development for more than 30 years. There are hundreds of articles to help you on this website (Website Contents) in your personal growth.
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