Three Ways to Establish Quick Rapport.
Genuine Curiosity and Interest
Fact: Everyone, even the most introverted person, loves to talk about themselves. I have yet to meet a functioning human being that doesn’t love it when someone takes an authentic interest in them and what’s important and meaningful to them. The key word here is “authentic” interest. That means you really do want to know more about their cat and his crazy antics, not just listening to be polite or to see it as an opening to tell them about YOUR cat. You actually ask questions to learn more, you lean into the conversation and make it about THEM, not you or someone you know.
Truly listening to someone is one of the greatest acts of respect you can give to someone. This means much more than just hearing what was said. It means hearing someone beyond the words, meaning you listen for context, their meaning, their feelings and perhaps for what is NOT being said. You hear the essence of what the person is trying to convey and you check in with them to be certain you’re hearing what you think you’re hearing by mirroring back or paraphrasing what you think you’ve heard.
Body Language and Tone
Body language constitutes 55% of communication. Tone of voice is 38%. Amazingly, only 7 percent of communication is verbal and yet, most of us aren’t very conscious or aware of the body language we use and how it signals what we’re really thinking and feeling. There are so many subtleties in both body language and tone that, aside from the obvious, it’s almost impossible to list them all but here are a few of the biggies:
- Eye contact with soft, inviting eyes
- Leaning forward
- Raising eyebrows and allowing facial expressions to reflect the moment
- Having your whole body facing in the direction of the other person
- Tilt your head when you’re not quite clear
- Have an open, relaxed posture (arms not folded in front of you)
- Remove barriers between you i.e. desks, furniture, etc.
- Soft mouth and/or warm smile
Take the time to notice your own body language when you’re with someone you truly enjoy being with and then the difference with someone who annoys you. Chances are, you have some patterns in the body language you demonstrate for both. Developing rapport with someone means setting your own judgements and perceptions aside and replacing it with authentic curiosity and a desire to know more. It also means moving aside your own desire to be listened to and heard and to be generous as a listener and learner and observer of others.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ICF Master Certified Coach
A true pioneer in the field of professional coaching and Master Certified Coach with the International Coach Federation with over 25 years experience coaching organizational leaders at all levels. Amy has worked closely with many organizations on implementing coaching initiatives and has developed highly acclaimed coaching programs for several universities, organizations and private training institutions.