One of the keys to establishing and creating healthy relationships is effectively building rapport. Rapport is the level of connection that you are able to establish with others. Having the ability to effectively do this can yield benefits with both personal and professional relationships.
Below are some areas where attention can be placed to improve effectiveness with rapport building.
Listening: There is an Epictetus quote that goes, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” This quote is relevant as effectively listening to others will help with building rapport.
Getting others to do a lot of talking: One of the ways to make others feel a strong feeling of connection with you is to get them talking a lot. When you are in a conversation with another person, if you can ask a lot of questions that gets them talking and then let them talk away, they are likely to get a feeling of connection with you. Even if you contribute very little to the conversation other than asking questions, the other person can walk away thinking that you are easy to talk to and that the two of you can really relate to each other.
Talking about things others are interested in: One key to building rapport is to talk about subjects that other people are interested in. People can often be selfish and with this being the case, they are more likely to have interest in a conversation that revolves around subjects that they have interest and knowledge. By gearing your conversations to areas where they have more interest and knowledge, they are more likely to invest in the conversation. And when they invest they are more likely to develop a connection.
Eye contact: Eye contact is a key form of nonverbal communication that lets other people know that we are interested in what they have to say. This can help support the rapport building process.
Reframing: Reframing is a technique in Active Listening where you repeat back in your own words what you heard while listening to someone. This allows you to communicate to the other person that you are listening closely and following along with everything they are saying. This will help the other person to feel like you understand and get them, which will help to build rapport.
Don’t talk too much about yourself: When building rapport, don’t talk too much about yourself. This does not mean to not share anything about yourself and to not open up. It more means to be balanced with talking about yourself and talking about the other person. Or if one side is going to get more attention, be sure that it is on the other person’s side. As mentioned, people are selfish and they like talking about subjects that they are interested in and knowledgeable about. By having a conversation more slanted toward being around the person you are talking to, they are more likely to be comfortable and interested and this will help to build rapport.