Developing rapport with others is a process. In a nutshell, what it takes is to:
- ask questions
- have a positive, open attitude
- encourage an open exchange of communications (both verbal and unspoken)
- listen to verbal and unspoken communications
- share positive feedback
Here are the key details of each element:
Relax and get to know the other person with a goal of finding common ground or things of interest. You can begin by simply commenting on the other persons choice of attire, if in person, or about their computer, if online, and following up with related questions.
Then basically follow up, steering clear of topics that could entice or cause arguing, while gradually leading the person to common ground you’d like to discuss.
Have a positive attitude and leave social labels at home (or in a drawer, if you’re at home). Many people can tell instantly if you have a negative attitude or if you feel superior. So treat other people as you would like to be treated. And give each person a chance. There are some helpful mindsets that I rely on to make this happen for me:
- Believe that the quality of your communication will be judged by the results you get.
- Believe, as I do, that behind every behavior there is a positive intention.
Do encourage others to share with you and you can do this by the type of questions you ask. Some people are shy, scared or inexperienced in communicating and welcome an opportunity to share. So invite an exchange both with body language and verbal communication. Face the other person with your arms open, eyes looking into theirs gently or softly (not glaring or staring), and encourage a conversation with a warm smile.
Be an active listener. Don’t focus your thoughts on what YOU will say next on on how your story is better than theirs. Listen to what the other person is saying and take your clues from there, while also noting the body language. Avoid finishing their sentences.
For example, if the other person folds his arms and sounds upset, you may need to change the subject or let him have some space and distance; maybe even try approaching him later on and excusing yourself to go make a phone call (or head to the buffet table or somewhere to escape).
On the other hand, if the other person is leaning towards you, following your every word and communicating with your as if you were old friends, BINGO. You’ve built rapport!
Share what you think … People like compliments
So hand them out freely without over doing it. Leaving a nice part of yourself like a compliment is a good memory for the other person to recall – numerous times. That’s good rapport. But do be sincere! False compliments aren’t easily disguised.
To your success!