A lot of work we do is based around helping people to have a better connection with others. So very often I might be working with a company where perhaps there sales are falling behind a little bit, in which case I may work with their sales people about how they can develop a better connection with their customers so they can secure a sale in the future and that’s one way in which rapport may be useful for you. Another way rapport is useful for you is in your day to day communication with others.
If you’ve ever not understood a message you’ve given them then that could be a rapport issue. Or if you just want to give a good first impression at an interview, on a date or at any other time, rapport is what you need to know to be able to do it.
The starting place for building rapport is our communication. Essentially it’s all about communication and we are going to break communication down into three ares. To do that, we break communication down into three areas: tone, words and physical body One of them is 7%, one is 38% and the last one is 55%.
7% is your words so only 7% of your overall communication comes from the actual words you say.
38% is your tone so not what you say but how you say it – your voice tone. So that means the volume, pitch, speed etc.
55% comes from your physiology. So if you have every heard the saying actions are louder than words this is what that saying is actually telling us – that the bulk of your communication comes from your actions.
We must look at what you do with your physical body. We call this matching and mirroring, now I guess if I were to maybe being a bit flippant about this, it is basically copying what the other person is doing however there is a bit more to it than that. Its it also becomes a bit more subtle.
You will have seen examples of this already and if you haven’t then look out for it. If you’ve ever been to the theatre or the cinema you have see them in a big group, if you watch them out the corner of your eye. You can see one person bending down getting their drink and as they do people shuffle around and some people with drinks will also drink their drink. They already have rapport with each other so they probably do not know they are doing it.
What that means is when you have a connection with someone you can influence them in a physical way but using your body and see that they begin to do the same actions.
To start gaining rapport what you need to do is start gently concentrating with what the other person is doing. So lets say we are in an interview scenario, and you are sitting opposite to someone who has their legs crossed, cross your legs too. If they then uncross there legs then you uncross your legs too, not immediately as that would look suspicious, just casually, a few moments later cross your legs, so your body is in the same physical position as theirs is.
People like people like themselves. Knowing that they are a bit like us in some way reassures us and because our physiology has such a big influence we can really give that message of being like someone else with how we use our body.
The difference between matching and mirroring (which is the process we use to gain rapport) is simply if you were sat opposite someone and you raised your right hand and they raised their right hand, you would be reflecting them so that is mirroring (like a mirror). If you raised your right hand than they raised their left hand you would be matching and your hands would be opposite to each other.
The key thing is to change your posture and angle of your spine. That makes everything else fall into place. You slide slowly into it so people don’t see a major change from you. After a time of doing this is you gain a connection with a person, you become a rapport leader which means that you are able to make some kind of gesture or movement and they will mirror you but they won’t ever notice it is happening.
On a plane back from the states to England after the 9/11 horror had happened, someone on a plane starting clapping as they landed safely but nobody joined in with the applause with him. A few moments later a different lady clapped and everyone started clapping that time. The second person to clap (the lady) was the rapport leader while the first man was not.
With voice tone, you must listen to how the person talks to you, you need to speak back to them the exact same way.
If I spoke quick then someone spoke back slowly, there would be awkwardness it wouldn’t work. You need to tune into people’s voices if you want to have a good communication with them. Match their speed, pitch, voice quality, tone etc.
For words its only 7% of the overall communication. Start thinking about the words and phrases that they use. If they are talking about a subject that you are not comfortable with, see how you can move the subject area, without going totally off topic. Can you make conversation around some nitty gritty details about what they say? Can you look at the subject in a broader way and make conversation from there?