Some people just seem to be able to get along with anyone and can find common ground easily. But you don’t have to be naturally charming or charismatic to build great rapport. It’s actually possible to develop a positive personal connection in 60 seconds in any type of setting.
First Impressions Count
First impressions happen at lightning speed. According to Forbes, there are many ways to make a first impression work in your favor. These include:
Straightening your posture
Making eye contact
Raising your eyebrows
Leaning in slightly
Adjusting your attitude
Benefits of Building Rapport
Building rapport is critical in any type of work situation, especially when dealing with new clients or prospects. Building rapport also allows you to be seen as credible, puts people at ease, and establishes trust.
Rapport is all about focusing on common interests and establishing a mutual feeling of friendliness. When people like each other they tend to help each other. Creating this bond can also help you develop a considerable strategic advantage in the workplace with co-workers, suppliers, and anyone you have regular contact with.
How To Do It
Here are some tips for developing rapport quickly:
Say Their Name
When talking to someone new use their name in the conversation. Identifying them by name is a sign of courtesy and will also help you remember it. Hearing one’s own name results in a positive brain function activation, as opposed to hearing another person’s name, or not being identified at all.
Saying a client or associate’s name extends to social media too, so be sure to mention them by name in tweets, posts, and pins. And, always use their name the way they give it. If someone introduces herself as Susan, don’t call her Sue.
When a professional builds and maintains trust it can attract opportunities, customers and profits, so establish trust by identifying a few common denominators. Do you know someone in common? Do your kids go to school together? Did you go to the same college? Are you from the same state, or have you travelled to their part of the world?
If you’re in their office, look around and identify common interests. Glance around at the artwork, postcards, and photos to identify sports teams, vacation spots, and other common interests you can comment on. You can also do your research ahead of time on LinkedIn or do a Google search to learn more about similar interests.
Yes, copy them. Mirror their tone of voice and body language to put them more at ease. According to a New York Times article about mimicry and imitation,
“subtle mimicry comes across as a form of flattery, the physical dance of charm itself.” By mirroring someone’s hand gestures and posture you can make them feel more at ease because they can see that you understand (or mirror) their point of view.
Ready, Set, Go
You don’t have to wait for a networking event to start using your rapport skills. Try using them at a staff meeting, in the elevator, or even at the grocery store. The more you practice, the more authentic your skills will become, and the sooner you’ll start making a great impression.