Team working together

Building Rapport

Don’t force it, keep working on it!

I want to share this topic today, to help and guide you in building rapport.

It was something I was thinking about after I met up with a friend for coffee recently. We started out as work colleagues but soon became good friends and maintained our relationship, long after we left the workplace where we first met.

Afterwards, I reflected on how interesting it is, that sometimes we just find a “connection” with someone, we just “click”.

So, what is Rapport?

The dictionary defines rapport as being “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well”.

The relationships where you find that you have so much in common, ideals, principles – even a sense of humour. It just happens naturally.

I think that this sums it up well.

But what if it doesn’t happen naturally? Let’s not force it, right?

Actually, building rapport not only within your work, your business and also your personal relationships can be really beneficial. It is an essential part of how we communicate with others.

More importantly, It creates a bond of comfort and trust.

So where do you start, if you don’t feel that connection?

 How do you build rapport?

Did you know that just 7% of communication comes from what we say?

The remaining 93% is made up of tone, expression and body language and perhaps this explains why text and email messages account for so much misunderstanding.

When you think about the tone of your voice, do you come across as confident and decisive? Or are you abrupt and loud? 

Analysing and working on this aspect of your communication can really help.

Make sure that you wear a smile, I don’t mean a cheesy grin and don’t forget that a lot of the rapport-building process is subconscious, so all the while we are sizing each other up we are evaluating.

We are looking at the similarities. We are building a bond.

Try to remember those non-verbal signals that you give out. Make eye contact, think about how you are standing or sitting, does it look defensive?  Stand straight and lean towards the person to show interest.

Hand gestures, talking with your hands, can also be something that we find we have in common and so help form that bond.

Try to find common ground, by asking questions.  I am not talking about the Spanish inquisition.

But questions such as “how was your weekend” or complimenting someone on an outfit, and asking them where they bought it, allow a conversation to start and who knows where this will lead, you may have a lot in common.

Pay attention to detail – remember people’s names or that they told you their pet dog was poorly because this makes the other person feel valued. Think how you feel when someone shows this level of interest in what you say, it feels really good doesn’t it?

Don’t pass Judgement, listen and don’t offer your advice or opinion, unless it is requested.

Building Rapport never really stops. You have to keep working on a relationship. Try not to think of it as a one-off activity but as an ongoing process.

If you have any questions about building rapport, team training or just want a chat – get in touch Tracy-Anne@tabarkerassociates.co.uk

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