Rapport is one of the elements that helps create a harmonious environment for good communication. For a conversation to be satisfying the parties involved need to feel comfortable, relaxed and safe. This environment makes difficult subjects easier to approach. A harmonious atmosphere offers the sense of cooperation not competition.
When communication flows easily you feel a sense of natural rapport.
It is best to never assume anything about the other person. Rely on what you are told, and the sense you get from them. Ask questions if you need further information. It is best not to jump to conclusions and thereby make assumptions.
During a telephone conversation when there is no eye contact, your voice must take over the role of our body language and facial expressions to establish rapport. During an online meeting how, you present yourself is very important.
What makes rapport necessary?
Having rapport is necessary to achieve the desired results from any conversation. For effective parenting, or in the context of business meetings, the outcome of a conversation could be limited without a harmonious feeling. For example, it could be more difficult to have a child cooperate and clean up his room if the request always comes with an angry voice, rather than that was encouraging and respectful. The same would apply in a business meeting. It might be easier reach an agreement or to close a deal if the atmosphere within the meeting is agreeable. The results can be much more effective when the rapport is natural. If rapport is missing, the quality of communication will suffer.
What is said can make or break a conversation.
Feeling someone’s undivided attention and genuine interest encourages a person to open up more.
There are numerous ways you can increase harmony and make stronger connections with people. Rapport building skills can be learned and mastered.
What are Rapport Building Skills?
If you take any every day situation and observe people in conversation, you can tell instinctively if they are in rapport or not. If the tone is angry and voices are raised, it would be safe to say that they are not in good, natural rapport. If you witness an interaction where two people are both standing comfortably, looking relaxed in their body language, smiling, holding eye contact and conversation seems to flow, the rapport is natural and good.
Rapport building skills can be defined as:
How these skills can be applied
‘Actions speak louder than words’
Your body language forms 55% of your message with its non-verbal communication. No matter how hard you might try to be non-judgemental, you start reading someone when they walk in the room. You look at their physical appearance, how they are dressed and groomed. You look for things with which you can identify. In order to have this feeling of being at ease, you can stand like them, walk like them, sit like them, use the same gestures, match their eye contact, even their breathing. This is called Matching or Mirroring. Matching is doing exactly what they do. For example, if they are leaning forward giving the feeling of being interested, you can also very subtly lean forward. Mirroring is duplicating with the mirror image of their behaviour. All of this should never be done in an exaggerated manner. You do not intend to mock them, show them disrespect. Your aim is to make them comfortable in your presence. Mirroring someone’s facial expression is a good practice, for example, smile if they smile.
It is difficult to maintain a bad mood when you are faced with a person whose body language is upright, open and smiling. If you start smiling the other person will find it more difficult not to start smiling back. It is possible to read from someone’s body language if they are paying attention or not. Constantly checking out what is happening in the room, playing with items on the table, fidgeting are a few examples of what might indicate their lack of attention.
Use your body language to,
‘Let your actions speak as loud as your words’
If you are interested in a conversation your body will reveal this by the way it is acting. You will be relaxed, hold eye contact and concentrated on what is being said. Feelings can ‘leak’ out and show up in your voice and body language. Therefore jumping to conclusions can cause misunderstandings. For example; a frown can just as easily convey confusion or concentration as disapproval.
Qualities of Voice
The voice represents 38% of the impact in a conversation. Adapting to the volume, tone and pitch can make an enormous difference on the impact and meaning of what is being said.
‘It is not what we say; it is how we say it’
‘Actors do not need work with words only. They are able to convey at least a dozen different shades of meaning with the word ‘No’.
Choice of Words
If 55% of our communication is through your body language and 38% is the use of your voice that leaves only 7% for the words you choose.
A wrong word can stifle conversation. For example, if you say, “WHY did you do that?”, the reaction would be one of defense. However, “WHAT was the importance of taking that action?” gives space for thought and self-reflection.
The words you choose, the tone in which you speak and the way you hold your body are all elements of a conversation important for rapport.
I like to think it can be compared to dancing with a partner, where one leads and the other follows. You are cooperating with each other not competing.
by Suzie Doscher, Executive Coach focusing on Personal Development
Photo Credit: Unsplash
Contact Suzie Doscher to chat with her
Raise your self-awareness with this: