The Importance of Building Rapport

Building Rapport


Have you ever met a person for the first time and really wanted them to like you? Maybe you could think about how building Rapport could help.

Maybe you wanted to leave a good impression on a new boss, a new coworker, or a person you’ve just met elsewhere in life. No matter the circumstances, I believe that each and every one of us went through a similar experience at least once in our lifetime.  

After all, wanting to be accepted and even liked by our peers is a natural desire. Now, we know that a first impression can be long lasting, which is why you must know how to act when you meet a person and how to interact with them further on. 

This is where building rapport can help you immensely. It’s a very helpful skill that you can start using as soon as you meet a person. By using good rapport techniques, you can make sure that you leave behind a good first impression and that you are well-liked by your conversation partner. 

But then there are long-term relationships. Ideally, you’d like a person to trust you as soon as possible, but, as many of us know, trust comes in time. So although a person might like you, they might not trust you, which is why you need to continue using good rapport techniques throughout your interactions. 

So then, what exactly is rapport and why is it so commonly used by professionals? 


What Is Building Rapport?

Good rapport is a relationship in which two or more people are in sync with each other’s thoughts, ideas, and feelings. In this kind of relationship, communication goes smoothly, and more importantly, it feels natural. 

We can see rapport as a relationship established on open communication and trust, but it can also be an ability that outlines somebody’s “reality” and makes them feel comfortable.  Through rapport, you can create a strong bond with another person, understand them on a deeper level and more significantly, enable them to believe you understand them. 

Of course, building rapport is an important skill when it comes to handling people in your personal life, but it is also an essential professional skill that every leader should have. As mentioned, this ability makes communication easier for the parties involved. 

And because good rapport uses communication to establish deep bonds, it becomes the perfect way to let people know that you can fulfill their needs while making them aware of what you need from them. So basically, rapport is a two-way street.


How Can You Build Rapport?

When it comes to establishing rapport, the first technique you can use is mirroring and matching. After rapport is established, you can follow this phase with the pacing, leading, and anchoring. Let’s take a look and see what entails each technique mentioned previously: 

1. Building Rapport by Mirroring and Matching

By far the most popular way to establish rapport is by mirroring and matching another person. These concepts originated in NLP and they basically require you to pay close attention to the body language, speech patterns, and beliefs of other people, and copy them without being noticed. 

Why do you need to pay close attention to all of these things? Because communication isn’t only verbal! In fact, only 7% of communication is transmitted through words, 38% is transmitted via how the words are said (tone of voice), and 55% through non-verbal communication.


So what is the difference Between Mirroring and Matching? To mirror somebody is to replicate the physical patterns of a person’s actions, without being obvious and without offending the person you’re mirroring. Matching is virtually similar to the previous concept, but besides physical mannerisms, it typically requires words, expressions, views, values, etc.

Now, matching is a very powerful technique because it can make the person you’re with feel comfortable and fully open to what you have to say. Although this naturally occurs in our day to day lives, this structure has been researched in NLP so that it can be achieved with more ease and continuity.

Types of mirroring and matching you can try experimenting with:

  • Whole-body matching, eg how you sit in a meeting
  • Gestures, eg how you wave hello before even speaking
  • Facial Expressions, eg copying a smile or shock
  • Breathing, matching in pace then combined with pacing and leading can slow hyperpnea
  • Vocal Characteristics, eg accent or dialect


2. Continuing Rapport by Pacing and Leading

As mentioned previously, after you have initiated and been in a relationship of rapport with another person for a while, you can start pacing and leading. Basically, you can’t lead a person without completing the pacing step first.

Pacing means that you will be adapting to the other person’s pace until they become ready for a change. 

A great example of this is calming down an angry person. First, you must match their body language, their tone, and their gestures. You must concentrate on hearing their problem and not necessarily give them your opinion right off the bat. The acknowledgment of their emotions and their reasons behind being upset is the pacing part. 

As you start pacing, you will soon notice that the anger will dissipate, and this is when you can start leading them. You will try to ‘lead’ the conversation towards something more constructive, like a solution. 

Once more, this technique is a fantastic ability in our day to day life, but it can be an incredible asset if you’re in a management or sales position.


3. Anchoring to cement the building of rapport

Anchoring is an NLP mechanism that enables one to regulate and repeat a behavioral outcome. At the peak of somebody’s emotional state, like happiness or sadness, you apply a gesture, touch, or reward. This state, called the anchored state, it can then be recalled by having the same gesture, touch, or reward applied. 

A similar method was extensively studied by Ivan Pavlov, who is mostly known for his stimulus-response experiment, which proved his point about classical conditioning. 

Anchors can be induced either unintentionally, or with intention. For example, a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact with a person when they are happy can later be used to bring back that feeling of happiness when you repeat the handshake next time you see them.


Bottom Line 

It’s always a great idea to read more about building rapport before putting it into practice. I believe that the best way to learn it is to observe a professional doing it, and try it yourself under professional supervision. 

As a Master NLP practitioner, I am very accustomed to building rapport and all the methods used to establish and maintain it. Not only that but as a life coach, I am able to teach you more about rapport to support you in leading a better working life.

So if you want to learn how to properly use rapport and improve every aspect of your life, then simply contact me and I can help you out.