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How to establish rapport

1. Quotable quote

"Total rapport is where you feel comfortable with another person, comfortable enough to trust them. You feel it because they seem to understand your viewpoint and your way of thinking or doing things."

J. Allan in 'The power of persuasion', Management Accounting, December 1996, p. 26.

2. Quotable quote

"Rapport is the most important process in influencing others. It is vital if you want to maintain a relationship. Without it, you are unlikely to achieve willing agreement in terms of what you want. People who have excellent rapport with others create harmonious relationships based on trust and understanding of mutual needs."

Richard Storey, The Influencing Pocketbook, Management Pocketbooks, Alresford, Hants, 2001.

3. Viewpoint

"Rapport is the cornerstone of all mutually effective relationships. It needs constant vigilance and nurturing to keep it alive and effective."

Richard Storey, The Influencing Pocketbook, Management Pocketbooks, Alresford, Hants, 2001.

4. Viewpoint

"Rapport is something we do with a person, not to a person."

Kris Cole in Crystal Clear Communication.

5. Smile & ponder

Rapport is like money - when you’re short of it, it increases in importance.

6. Don't forget

Rapport is important. Without it, you reduce your chances of getting:

  • full commitment from others
  • unconditional agreement in relation to your ideas and suggestions
  • business
  • promotion
  • friendss

7. Quotable quote

"Creating rapport doesn’t depend on saying just the right words and smiling all the time. You generate rapport largely through nonverbal behaviours such as facial expressions, tone of voice, posture, gesture, and so on."

Philip Chard, 'Managing workplace conflict', Human Resources, May 1997.

8. Body language and rapport

In 'Crystal Clear Communication', Kris Cole advises that a key communication booster is the feeling you are on the same wavelength as the other person is. Rapport, she says, is based on similarity, and people who are in sync will often unconsciously match their body language and energy level. Their movements may coincide too, so when one person shifts position, the other will as well. They may even speak at the same speed and volume. Rapport is something we do with a person, not to a person.

Cole says you can build rapport by matching or mirroring someone's body language:

"The idea… is not to copy blindly every movement a person makes or each position they sit in. Don't match or mirror if it feels unnatural, uncomfortable or insincere. This reduces it to an empty technique and does nothing to build rapport. Be subtle. They should not consciously realise what you are doing.

You can test the level of rapport you share with someone with the leading technique, where you deliberately shift position or alter the speed of volume of your speech. If the other person follows the lead, there is rapport. The more positive and quicker the reaction, the deeper the rapport."

9. 11 steps to rapport

From a heath-provider's perspective, Kim Crellin outlines '11 Ways to Build Rapport'. Her list is as follows:

  • Become visible.
  • Anticipate needs.
  • Be reliable.
  • Listen
  • Stay in control.
  • Self-disclose.
  • Care for each patient as an individual.
  • Use humor when appropriate.
  • Educate your patient.
  • Give your patient some control.
  • Show your support with small gestures-an offer to get coffee, etc.