Establishing rapport is a skill that you can master. It is the ability to connect with other people. There are many different ways to establish rapport. You can do it in a private one-on-one conversation with another person. You can do it over the phone. You can establish rapport with a group of people during a meeting. You can build rapport with a large audience during a presentation. You can establish rapport over the phone, and even via email.
All of these scenarios require slightly different approaches, but the underlying psychological fundamentals are always the same.
Rapport means that you make other people trust and like you. It means to communicate on the same wavelength, so that there is an atmosphere of mutual understanding.
From the field of neuro linguistic programm (NLP) we know that in a personal encounter, the most important building blocks of rapport are: pacing and leading.
That means you synchronize your body language. You reflect their posture and the qualities of their movements. The qualities of movements are such things as speed, direction of dominant movements, smoothness or abruptness, and so on. However, it is important not to copy them – otherwise, the other person will become consciously aware of what you are doing and will either be offended, or will pull his guard up because he or she might think that you are trying to manipulate them.
Also, how fast are they speaking? Some people are very slow speakers. Just speaking the words in this paragraph takes them two minutes. Whereas others are really fast talkers, spitting out words like a machine gun blasting out bullets. If you talk with someone, notice and match their tempo.
Also, notice their tone of voice. Is it a high, flat kind of voice? Or a low, deep voice? Or a melodic voice moving up and down the tone scale? All of these are things that you want to mirror. (And yes: that means you yourself have to practice communicating flexibly).
Even notice how they breathe: are the breathing fast and shallow, or slowly and deeply, or something in between? Just being aware of another persons breath is a powerful way of “getting in sync”. (Note: Do not try to forcefully match another person’s breathing pattern with your own, it will just make you feel uncomfortable).
Also, notice the kinds of words and expressions that they use. With some people it’s really clear, they paint a vivid picture with their words. Some people are clear as a bell, and if you just hear them they will resonate with you. And some people are kind of hard to get a grasp of, and it takes a while to get in touch with them and develop a feeling for what’s going on inside of them.
Now, if you look at that last paragraph, you can see that the last sentence used a lot of kinesthetic (feeling) words: hard, get a grasp, get in touch, develop a feeling, going on inside.
And in the sentence before that, you find a lot of auditory (hearing) words: clear as a bell, hear, resonate.
And in the sentence before that, you see a lot of visual (seeing) words: clear, paint vivid picture.
These words indicate the currently dominant sensory processing that is going on inside of their mind. It’s almost as if you can get a peek into their mind – and this is a really useful skill for establishing rapport. It means that you really increase your abilities of perception, become more aware of what is going on around you and have the flexibility to adapt to the person you interact with.
It’s not just knowing about rapport building techniques – it’s a lot more about developing the internal qualities. There are lots of people who are naturally good at establishing rapport, but they don’t know anything about visual words, or body language, or tone of voice… but they have those internal qualities. Hypnosis can help you to accelerate the process of refining these qualities.