Tips to Build Rapport

I’m fascinated by the brain and how each of us have individualized habitual patterns based on our DNA and our experiences. It’s so fascinating to me that everyone is so different, but yet the same in some ways.

I’ve always been blessed to be able to build rapport with people quite quickly. I just assumed that everyone could do this, which is totally incorrect (ahem cognitive bias). 

Recently I’ve learned of some ways to build rapport that come from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). I realized that I do these things quite naturally most of the time, but you can definitely learn to do them.

NLP asserts that everyone has a representational system through which they filter their experience. The system we use can change based on the context at the time. The three representational systems are visual, auditory, and kinesthetic.

The only thing required to figure out what another person’s representational system is in any context is to pay attention to their literal words and their eye movement. That’s it.

If a person is saying words like see, focus, vision, view, look, picture, watch or show and their eyes are looking up to the left or the right, they are in a visual representation.

If a person is saying words like hear, listen, talk, harmony, noisy, call, vibration, told or voice and their eyes are looking straight across to the left or the right, they are in an auditory representation.

If a person is saying words like feel, touch, rough, tight, shake, soft or stir and their eyes are looking down to the left of the right, they are in a kinesthetic representation.

Now why does this matter?

To build rapport, you need to match the other person’s representational system. This is what makes you click with some people and want to run away from others. 

But, if you know this fascinating information, you can just shift your language to their system.

If someone says to me, “I see the problem” and I respond with “tell me what you heard”, this is going to cause an underlying friction between us. (Visual vs. Auditory)

If someone says to me, “I see the problem” and I respond with “tell me what it looks like”, this is going to create rapport. (Visual vs. Visual)

Now, are these hard and fast rules? Probably not. But, I think between this and watching people’s body language, you can get a pretty good idea of how they are representing something at the moment. It just takes paying attention.

I’m sure I’ve oversimplified this NLP concept, but hey, that’s what I do. I boil things down to be useful. 

Give it a try next time you’re in a conversation with someone who rubs you the wrong way. Look at their eyes and listen to their words and then change your style to match. You’ll be amazed at how much smoother things get (or what you are able to see or hear, lol).

PS: Is work not working for you anymore? Are you stressed to the hilt and wondering if this is all there is to life? Imagine your life if you were 80% less stressed. What would become possible for you? More time with your loved ones? Being perceived as a leader and an expert at work? Feeling energized and empowered and more creative?

All of this is possible. It just takes a few tweaks around taking things personally, boundaries, self trust, communication and focus. 

Sooner or later all that stress is going to catch up with you. 

You can schedule a free session and see what it’s all about, can you not? Click here to do it!