How many times have you heard that phrase?

Maybe someone has said it to you, or perhaps you’ve suddenly experienced that feeling when you’ve been talking to someone that you’ve just met… there is something familiar about them – do they remind you of someone, or have you met them before? You can’t quite put your finger on it, but something just feels ‘right’ and comfortable.

I’d like to let you into a little secret – nine times out of ten you haven’t met this person at all, and if they remind you of someone and you can’t think whom, try looking a bit closer to home, or even in the mirror… the ‘person’ they remind you of… is you! and that ‘feeling’ is called Rapport.

rapportImageRapport is not a new concept – it’s something we build unconsciously with people that we like, and similarly we break it with people we don’t – but what exactly is rapport and how can you use it to your advantage?

As with all techniques in NLP, the purpose is to understand how we, as human beings, do this process unconsciously, and to then break it down into a process which we can replicate and use for positive results. With rapport, we look at what specifically it is – what the indicators are of being in rapport (ie. how we know when we have rapport with someone) and how we go about consciously building rapport with someone.

At this point you may be wondering why you would want to learn about it when it’s something we do unconsciously… The point is, we only do it unconsciously with people we like, our friends, for example. But how about someone you are about to meet for the first time?

Imagine you are about to walk in to a meeting – maybe the person you are due to meet has a busy schedule and isn’t ‘in the mood’ to listen to yet another sales pitch. If you walk in and launch straight into your patter, you may as well save your breath. That person will be waiting for you to finish and leave; they’re definitely not buying.

But what if you knew how to consciously build rapport with that person from the moment you walk in? That person wouldn’t consciously know what you were doing, and by following a simple process you could build an unconscious connection with that person, so that by the time you get to your sales pitch, there is no objection there, and in fact, that person feels they have a great connection with you. How much more likely is that person to buy at that point?

It’s a fact – people like people who are like them; consequently, they are more likely to buy into or buy from someone who is like them. You may have noticed that best friends often appear to exhibit many of the same of similar mannerisms – or even within a group of friends, they will often speak or sit or move in a similar way. This isn’t rocket science by any means, and you’d be amazed how often this fact is ignored!

In a study by Robert Birdwhistell, called Kinesics and Context: Essays on Body Motion Communication, he stated that 93% of communication is Unconscious . . . 93% – that’s a huge amount to leave to chance – and by not being aware of rapport that is exactly what you’re doing every time you communicate with someone.

So here’s the thing – by actually matching and mirroring certain things that another person does, you can become more like them, and consequently they will feel more relaxed around you because you will seem familiar to them – the situation is suddenly comfortable. There are a number of things you can match and mirror when getting into rapport with someone (which, incidentally, is VERY different from copying or mimicking someone – that latter will, more likely, get you a slap! lol!) – for example, you can match a person’s breathing, the tone and speed at which they talk – maybe even the types of words that they use – their posture and physiology. By starting to notice these things when you first meet people, you can adapt your own communication (which remember, is much much more than just the words you use) and be able to use it consciously, and effectively for positive results in business, relationships, education – in fact, in every area of your life.

by Francesca Dicembre
Headgear Labs Ltd

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