One of the great things about rapport is that it doesn't matter whether you have agreement or not with the other party. Remember some of the conversations you've had in the past with your best friend, partner or even children. Do you always agree with them? What happens when you disagree? Is it the end of the world or is there friendly banter? Sometimes we simply agree to disagree. I heard someone say once "You can either be right, or you can be happy". I know I'd rather be happy.
You can also build relationships with others although you personally don't get along. I've had jobs in the past where I personally didn't get along with my bosses for whatever reason, however I still respected their position ? they were still my boss, they were running the show and for all intents and purposes knew what they were doing. With that, my professional integrity remained intact.
So what can we do about getting rapport happening?
Interaction with others is multifaceted. We all have our own views on life that we believe is right, we have different values and beliefs; there are cultural issues as well as many other things that need to be taken into consideration when dealing with others. So I've come up with some very basic rapport building strategies that might just make it happen for you.
Firstly, take baby steps. If you're uncomfortable matching and mirroring the behaviours and language of others, start by practising with yourself in front of a mirror, find yourself a partner you'll be comfortable practising with, or mirror someone on television. The more you practise the more fluid your rapport building skills will become ? think of this as if you engaging in a slow moving rhythmic dance with someone.
Read each point first and give yourself time to absorb its meaning.
*Take a genuine interest in the other person.
*Become curious as to how the other person thinks, what they value most, what type of humour they have, what language they use ? is it visual, auditory or feeling?
*If there is an apparent age gap between you and the other person, learn about that generation, what their values are, what motivates them and show an interest in their history.
*Be willing and flexible enough to see life through the other person's eyes? How do they view the world?
*Have open communication with others and be willing to disclose some things about yourself, of course within reason and when appropriate.
*People can sense manipulation, if not consciously then subconsciously. I can sense manipulation a mile off and don't like it one bit! Sometimes I've kicked myself for agreeing to something I really didn't want to. Like I said earlier, rapport is about mutual influence ? a give and take experience. An example of this is when we share jokes, brainstorm a project together, a class, or simply being part of an effective team.
*Mirror and match their posture and movements. This doesn't mean copying or mimicking. I once interviewed a young man who copied my every movement. When I invited him into the workplace by saying "Walk this way", he did by copying me exactly. For something serious like a job interview I thought I was part of a comedy routine. That is definitely NOT what I'm talking about. When movement's flow like a dance it shows you're in sync with others.
For example if someone crosses their arms you could subtly do the same or cross your feet. You could match someone's breathing rate with your blink rate, foot tapping can be equalled with nodding in rhythm, tugging of the earlobe could be tugging at skirt/trousers/shirt. Again, this takes practise and subtle observation. After awhile it will be something that's done unconsciously.
*Notice and really hear their voice. What tone, pitch, pace, volume and wording do they use?
*What's their breathing rate ? fast, slow, even, erratic? Notice their rhythm of breathing and do the same. I find when I do one-on-one sessions with my clients, my breathing rate and that of my client becomes as one. I know then that my client and I are totally in the present moment and focused on each other.
*We all have a unique way we move, some of us are slow, fast, steady or barely make a movement. I apparently move something like a penguin (womanly would have been nice but there you have it). The unique movement of others is something else that can be matched though I wouldn't be overdoing the penguin waddle!
*Actively listen to the other person ? be interested in what they have to say. Even my young son knows when I'm not present and listening to him.
*Know and understand what your relationship with your 'Self' is before building rapport with others.
*Be in the Present moment.
*And the biggest and most effective rapport building strategy is when you are personally involved in the rapport building process. Makes sense, does it not?
May you have many wonderful moments in building relationships!
Michaela is a graduate of a well known parapsychology academy in Sydney Australia, and is a highly-regarded professional within this field.
She is also a Transformational Coach, certified practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and writer who is totally committed to helping others create positive and action oriented changes to their lives.
A high achiever in many areas of her life, Michaela has extensive experience through not only her varied careers but also her interests and education in the fields of spirituality, aromatherapy and massage, personal development and transformational coaching, to writing, meditation, and psychometry.
Michaela is the author of the eBook 10 Colour Meditation Scripts, and publisher of a monthly e-newsletter called From My Desk which is available via subscription at http://www.michaelascherr.com
Married to David, Michaela has two children, Kristen and Aaron, and a grandchild called Matthew. Michaela and her family currently live in Brisbane Australia.