The ability to establish a relationship is one of life’s critical skills. Developing one is a step-by-step process, with the first step being the most important – building rapport. Rapport occurs when two or more people are in sync or on the same page because they feel similar or relate well to each other. When you master establishing rapport, you will have more success in business, a wider social circle and greater options romantically. Here are seven fast and doable ways to establish rapport with anyone, in any setting. Go!
Study whom you’re meeting and where you’re meeting them. This will guide you in what to wear, when to arrive and what to bring. The bottom line is people like people most like them. Don’t step out of character to become someone else, but do everything you can to walk in with a position of strength.
The science on this is clear: people follow the lead of credible people. To dramatically increase the strength of your rapport, have the most influential mutual friend provide your introduction and endorsement. When the person introducing you is not “influential” but simply an acquaintance, social validation also works.
When first meeting someone, most people waste the opening seconds by not shutting up. You can learn a great deal about someone by simply watching and listening to not just what they’re saying but how they’re saying it. The most important aspect to pay attention to is tone.
After about 30 seconds of observation, you should know their tone, the cadence in their speech and if they tend to do anything particular with their body (like keep hands in their pocket or periodically touch you). With this information, you’re armed to parrot them – literally mimic the tone, cadence, and body language. It may feel odd, but it’s the most effective way to quickly make someone feel comfortable with you.
This step isn’t about adopting the values of everyone you meet. It’s listening for underlying clues and cues about a person’s values and their personality type. Do they use thinking words or mostly feeling words? Do you hear a common theme of value-based words such as trust, honesty, ethics or credibility? Once you get a sense of their belief system, you’ll know how to introduce yours. If you can connect on values, you have the baseline of a strong relationship.
Rapport is where trust begins. Use a few seconds to validate whether you’ve built rapport with the person or if you need to return to one of the previous steps for a quick adjustment. Attempting to move a conversation forward before it’s time often results in you feeling that you're just spinning your wheels.
Once you feel a basic level of rapport is established, it’s time to get ghost! Items as well as opportunities become more desirable as they become less available. The bottom line is, we want more of what there is less of, and this applies to people, too.
Comments, concerns or questions about my advice? Tell me about it below! Paul Carrick Brunson is a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee and a 2012 iDate Matchmaker & Relationship Coach Of The Year nominee. His bestselling book It’s Complicated (But It Doesn’t Have to Be) is in stores now. Contact him directly on Facebook or Twitter anytime or visit his website.