The word ‘rapport’ has been derived from the French verb ‘rapporter,’ whose literal meaning is ‘to carry something back’ or, in another way, means ‘what one person sends out, the other person sends back.’ Rapport is a mutual relationship in which people or groups understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate effectively. It is based on trust, empathy, and a positive mindset. Sometimes, rapport builds slowly with time, and sometimes, you just click in the first meeting.
In this era of competition and fast growth, effective communication skills play a major role in professional and personal development. Therefore, the better you build rapport with others, the more you can understand, connect, identify shared feelings, and empathize with them. A good rapport fosters meaningful two-way communication and embraces different points of view. When you build rapport with someone, there is a better chance that you can influence, teach, and learn, and the other person is more likely to accept your ideas and the information you share and create opportunities together.
How to Build Rapport
Rapport is a two-way communication, so you cannot create it all by yourself but, you can stimulate it. Some people have innate characteristics of building rapport, even in new places they become so comfortable and familiar easily which helps them in their emotional and professional growth, while some struggle to even start a basic conversation and hence fail to communicate effectively. So, here are few techniques you can keep in mind while meeting new people and building strong rapport.
As the quote says- “first impression is the last impression”. So your appearance has a lot to say about your personality. So when you are about to meet new people, try to dress according to the type of meeting you have and the type of rapport you are going to build, it can be professional, social and personal.
If you are the host, and new people are coming to visit you than you must make sure they are comfortable, the more comfortable and secure they feel in your presence, the more freely they will share the ideas and information. Also, if you are the guest, make yourself comfortable first to have the better experience.
Start Small Talks
Small talk means speaking for the sake of being sociable, rather than communication. So, you can use small talk to find the common interests and ground so you can build rapport.
Use Open-Ended Questions
Open ended questions help in sharing the maximum experiences and the two people in the conversations can really bond over. You can start by sharing your experience first and then asking the same to the other person, like the hobbies, college you studied or random experience you just had.
Find Common Ground
People bond better when they have anything common in them and when you show genuine interest in them, they are more likely to open up and share things about themselves, and when they share information, you can easily figure out on what common things you can interact and have a quality conversation.
Create New Experiences Together
It is not necessary that everyone you meet would have common ideas and interests and in that case rapport building seems to be little time consuming and complex but creating new experiences together can really help you bond better. It could be anything like attending conference, sessions, some sports, creative activities or any new-project.
Empathy involves understanding other people by considering things from their perspective and acknowledging their emotions. Most of us enjoy discussing our likes, dislikes, interests, desires, problems, and achievements. When people share information, it is important to be a good listener, giving your full attention and responding with intensity and curiosity, even if you disagree at certain points or know the other person is wrong. This approach helps in building trust and a sense of comfort. Once you have achieved this, you can discuss disagreements and present the other side of the situation.
Do’s of Building Rapport
- Be genuine.
- Remember people’s names and try to address them using their names. This way, people feel significant and confident.
- Hold your head up and maintain a good posture.
- Take care of your body language. If you are sitting, lean towards the person you are talking to, with open hands; this will make the other person feel more relaxed.
- Maintain eye contact but do not make them uncomfortable
- Smile nicely.
- Listen carefully and attentively, and ask questions with curiosity.
- Show gestures and expressions like nodding your head and encouraging comments during the conversation
- Use humor with care.
- Give other people time and space to talk.
- Accept and admit when you don’t have answers or have made a mistake.
Don’ts of Building Rapport
- Do not use dishonest ways to manipulate another person against their interests.
- Do not share the information given by the other person, and do not misuse the same for your own profit.
- Do not overreact to disagreements; let the other person complete first, the give your reason first and then say about your disagreement.
- Do not over-smart the other person, because this can make the other person less confident and inferior.
- Do not overtalk about yourself; try to balance the conversation by giving equal time and space to the other person.
- Do not use sarcasm and make offensive comments in the name of humor, because not everyone can take jokes. Be sensitive.
- Do not judge the person based on the information and experiences they share.
Building rapport is a quality that every one of us must know, as it is the key of effective communication, and communication is very important in terms of personal and professional growth. Even if you are an introvert, building rapport helps you keep friends and other people in a close and strong relationship.
You can build a diverse network of people from various areas of life like your family, college friends, seniors, professors, colleagues or anyone around you with the help of strong rapport and strong rapport will land you in the ocean of remarkable opportunities where you can grow as a person and a professional.