How to develop and heighten rapport on Valentines Day beyond your wildest dreams!
With Valentines day on the doorstep for another year here is way of enhancing those romantic occasions. In thinking about something pertinent to Valentines, I thought I would write about a topic that fascinates me; developing rapport.
Fundamental techniques in NLP show people how to do physical things like match and mirror body language, which I think is fairly well documented these days. I had a local newspaper advertising salesman come along to my centre recently to talk about advertising and I was amazed at how blatantly and obviously he mirrored every movement I made. It verged on being uncomfortable! If you are going to match and mirror, you can match body language with more subtlety.
You do not have to copy every crossing of the arms with a crossing of the arms yourself. You can intimate a crossing movement with your fingers much more gently. You can also then look at matching the speed and rhythm of speech, match the rate of breathing and general tempo of that person.
You can then progress onto to doing things to do with matching the form of their representational systems within their language? "What?" I hear many of you ask. Well, that is something you can ask me about separately. This article is about something else.
What is more interesting for valentines is a deeper connection in the person you are with.
The idea that you can create the kind of 'instant connection' that leads to deeper intimacy with another person fascinated me, and that sense of fascination is still with me. While many of the 'techniques' for building rapport (matching, mirroring, sensory words etc) have been well-documented, it occurred to me that, when that sort of 'instant connection' happens spontaneously, often its in the absence of any techniques whatsoever.
My partner, Sara, and I recently discussed that lots of people often comment on how comfortable they feel when they are with me! What many people are astonished with is the degree of rapport I can and do often get with other people. I very often do not do anything in the way of matching body language, sensory words or breathing rate when I am out of the therapeutic environment, yet I do get into extremely deep rapport with the people I come into contact with, leading to comments like "You know me better than my best friend" or "I feel like I've known you all my life". Hmmmmm..... I thought.......
How do you do that?
Well, whenever I see someone doing something really cool, the NLP question that I ask is "How do you do that?" One of the presuppositions of NLP is that if one person can do something, then we can learn how to do it and teach it to other people. We all have human neurology, and the amazing skills that individuals demonstrate are based in their neurology, so anything one person can do can be done by anyone else with human neurology. (As an aside, I was once at a Richard Bandler training where he said "Anything is possible". Someone challenged his assertion, and he replied "Look, if something's impossible, you're going to find out soon enough anyway, so you may as well assume its possible until proven otherwise" which I thought was just the coolest answer.)
The kind of thing I examined about myself was that whenever I meet someone, I accept them exactly as they are, with all their foibles, peculiarities and peccadilloes. Of course, in order to accept them as they are, I need to accept myself as I am. That is the reason my website and day to day manner is sometimes brutally honest, verging on arrogant, laced with my own brand of humour; because that is who and how I am and I accept that. It seems as though the other person somehow senses this acceptance, and deep rapport develops instantly.
Here are some ideas to tinker around with;
1) Sit for a few moments, and experiment with accepting yourself exactly as you are. Say to yourself "I accept myself exactly as I am".
If you are experienced in meditation or self-hypnosis, this may be very easy, right from the outset. If you are less experienced, it may be a bit trickier at first, until you realise that, whatever your internal response to the statement is, you can just accept that.
Me 1) I accept myself exactly as I am
Me 2) Oh, what about that tension in my shoulder, I don't like that.
Me 1) I accept that tension in my shoulder.
Me 2) But I don't like it.
Me 1) I accept the sense of not liking it.
Me 2) That's not fair!
Me 1) I accept that sense of 'not-fairness'
I use the abbreviation of 'Me 1' and 'Me 2' because human consciousness is self-reflexive, and it seems that, no matter how many 'me's I identify, there's always at least one more 'me' observing the other 'me's. Go figure!
If you have never done this exercise before, you may find it to be an extraordinary experience. Whether you do or whether you don't, just accept yourself as having the right experience for you.
2) In a low-risk situation with another person, decide to experiment with accepting them exactly as they are. Say to yourself "I accept this person exactly as they are". Notice how quickly deep rapport develops.
When I first started showing others to do this, all kinds of objections would kick off within people. They would notice things they didn't like, or want to offer them advice, or react to what they were saying. Whenever you notice these responses in yourself, just do exercise 1, and accept yourself exactly as you are. This makes it 10 times easier to accept them exactly as they are.
Using this approach, I have managed to get a very deep level of rapport, and to be influential in situations where you'd never imagine being able to. Believe me!
How does this work?
The idea of rapport is that you meet someone at their map of the world. Matching & mirroring do this at the level of behaviour, but acceptance of the other person seems to match them at the level of identity. Many people get told from an early age that it's not OK to be them. Often, the behaviours they develop to deal with this not-OK-ness get them stacks more messages that they're not OK. This approach of total acceptance seems to send them a number of messages along the lines of "I accept you as you are", "You are OK", "You are a valuable human being", "You are worth listening to" etc. For many people, this is the first time they've received those messages, and it is powerful indeed.
So, as you gaze, all soppy-eyed over the candle-lit dinner table this Valentines day, you can heighten your sense of connection with that person by just accepting. See how your romance blooms and rapport develops beyond your wildest dreams.
Copyright Adam Eason 2005. All rights reserved.
Adam Eason is an author, Trainer, Consultant in the fields of Personal Development, Human Potential, NLP & Hypnosis. He trains globally and his products sell all across the world. He can be found at http://www.adam-eason.com.