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4 Rapport Building Hacks: A Cheat Sheet for Quickly Building Rapport With Anyone

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We all know how important relationships are, and I’m sure most of us are working diligently to create better relationships in our lives. But what’s the underlying foundation of building and maintaining healthy relationships that’s often overlooked? Rapport.

What is rapport anyway? “relation; connection, especially harmonious or sympathetic relation.”

Building strong rapport with someone makes them feel more comfortable with you and really helps take the relationship to the next level. Just think about it, you can’t have a good relationship with anyone if you two are never in rapport with each other. The stronger your rapport, the stronger the relationship.

But how do you go about building rapport? There’s a lot on this topic that I’m sure you could find pretty easily, so I want to shine some light on some lesser-known tactics for building better rapport.

The good thing about the strategies I’m sharing though is that anyone can use them. You don’t have to be some unbelievable, TED worthy, communication expert. You really just have to follow what it is I’m outlining.

I’ve used this strategies so many times. In job interviews, speaking in public, and even in more intimate relationships like with my girlfriend, and every time I do, I feel more connected to that person and there’s just a strong sense of ease.

 

Match Physical Alignment

You’ve been to a job interview before, how do you and the interviewer usually sit? You’re probably on directly opposite sides of some meeting room table. Talk about cold.

What about looking at a photo album with a friend? You’re probably sitting really close to each other on the living room couch. Totally different than an interview.

Which of those two scenarios builds the best rapport?

Clearly the latter.

One major difference is the alignment of the bodies. In the interview, you’re sitting across from each other and that position is just inherently adversarial. But in the photo album example, you’re sharing space, and you have your bodies aligned in the same direction. When you align your bodies, you’re more likely to feel in sync with each other and will naturally feel more at ease and cooperative with each other.

As long as you don’t take it overboard and start invading personal space, matching alignment is great way to make everyone feel a little more comfortable.

 

Match Posture

This just means matching how your body is positioned, to the other person’s body. Is his head down and his shoulders slumped? Then yours should be too. Or is his head up and his chest out? Yours should be too.

Just like matching physical alignment, when you match posture, you feel much more in sync with who ever it is that you’re talking to.

But also like matching alignment, you want to do this slowly and subtlety. Don’t make it obvious. And the match doesn’t have to be identical. If the person you’re talking to shifts his weight to his left leg, you could shift your to the right. If he crosses his legs, you could rest your ankle on your knee. It doesn’t have to be verbatim, you just want to be similar.

 

Match Voice

Have you ever been in a deep sleep, awaken by the ring of your phone, only to answer to an overzealous friend talking a thousand miles an hour about something you can barely understand? Not much rapport there right?  Or maybe you’ve been in a classroom or a meeting where the instructor was talking more monotone than the guy from the old Clear Eyes commercials. No too much rapport there either.

When building rapport, you have to match the speed of the other person’s voice. Is it fast and continuous? Or is it slow with a lot of pausing? As you begin to notice a pattern, adjust your own speech to approximate the other person’s.

 

Match Body Movements

Some people talk with their hands when they get really excited. Others like to move around a lot. Some people don’t like to move at all. Whatever the preference of the person you’re speaking to, match it.

Just imagine, you like to speak with big sweeping, hand gestures, but the girl you’re talking to barely moves at all. There’s going to be an imbalance there and it’ll be difficult to build rapport.

Pick up on the other person’s movements and slowly and subtlety begin to adjust your own movements to approximate that other persons.

 

Match Emotions

This one sounds like a given, but you would be surprised at how many times I’ve come to people with really great news and they didn’t match my enthusiasm. Recently, my podcast was featured in iTunes “New and Noteworthy” section. It was such a big deal to me and I was so excited! Smiling from ear to ear, I shared the great news with a friend of mine. His response?

“That’s cool man”.

That was it. It was disheartening. There I was on cloud 9 and I went to him to share this joy I’m experiencing, and he brought me way down because all he said is “That’s cool man”.  Now granted he wasn’t really sure what a podcast was, and had never even heard of the term “New and Noteworthy”, but still. Even if you have no idea what that person is talking about, like my friend with my podcast, just celebrate with them and appreciate their joy.

Imagine had he been just as excited as I was? How much would that have changed the situation? Not only would that have increased my own happiness because now I’m sharing it with another person, but I also would have associated him with that positive experience. That’s HUGE for rapport. If you can associate yourself with positive experiences, you’re on the fast track to rapport.

But it works the other way around as well. You may have been told that if someone is yelling at you, the best thing to do is remain calm and tell that person that he needs to calm down. But that doesn’t work, if anything it just makes things worse. Have you ever told a really angry person to calm down? It just makes them even more upset.

When someone is upset or really stressed, it’s a lot better to align with the emotion first. This doesn’t mean that you agree with what your angry friend is saying, just that you understand he’s upset. So if your angry friend is yelling at you, raise your voice too. Not to start a yelling match, but just to match his voice. Once you’re on the same level, you can start to bring the conversation back down by slowly starting to lower the level of your voice. If you aligned your voice well with your friends, then he’ll naturally start to follow your lead. If he doesn’t, then try it again.

Take these rapport-building hacks and start using them to your advantage. You never know which relationship will be the one that takes your life to next level. Don’t let the opportunity pass you by simply because you couldn’t build and maintain rapport.

Tony Robinson runs DoReallyGood.com, which is a site that shows you how to utilize willpower, habits, systems and automation so you can create lasting change that leads to the achievement of your most important goals. You can pick up a free copy of his ebook "Goal Domination: The 5 Step Game Plan to Setting and Achieving Your Goals" by clicking here.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Roy

    Dec 5, 2013 at 2:33 pm

    Not building rapport is like speaking French to your boss knowing he only speaks English. You know it’s not gonna work both for him and you.

  2. Raúl

    Nov 19, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Hey, buddy! There is just one thing you need to know: you do not stop being yourself by matching someone else posture. If you are to win a war, you gotta know your enemy. So, in this case, is not going to be that way all the time. After you build rapport, you just go to the next move. Is not a big deal, it is just a move to win a game, and you don’t stop being yourself after you do this or that, are you?

  3. Jazzel Yousef

    Nov 16, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I have just got a question to ask. Wouldn’t it be better to be yourself rather than being a copycat of someone else just to build a rapport ? I didnt mean to offend you, it is just a question that came to my mind. Is this like a “fake it till you make it attitude ” ? Thanks.

    • Tony J. Robinson

      Nov 20, 2013 at 12:13 am

      Hey! That’s a really great question.

      It’s no so much that you’re trying to be a copy cat. I’m not advocating that you change who you are as a person. I’m only suggesting that there a certain actions you can take, that can help improve rapport.

      With the posture for instance, you’re going to have posture regardless, so you can either use it in a way that helps build rapport, or in a way that hurst rapport.

      So again, it’s not being a copy cat, it’s just using specific tools that get a specific outcome.

      Thanks for the comment though! I hope this clears things up a bit.

    • JaJa

      Nov 20, 2013 at 1:20 am

      I see it as a sign of respect when you match someone’s emotion. It shows that you understand where they’re coming from and that you’re totally there for them to exchange energy and to hopefully bring each other up! It also makes them feel more comfortable around you so they’ll let down their defenses. Eventually, once a strong rapport is established, you guys can act however you want and will understand each other on the same level.

    • H

      Nov 20, 2013 at 2:29 am

      I was thinking the same thing.

      • Tony J. Robinson

        Nov 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm

        Yeah, you guys are totally right. It is a major sign of respect. And it’s just a lot easier to like someone who’s on the same wavelength as you.

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Success Advice

3 Areas You Should Focus on to Become a Great Leader

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Having listened to all of our stakeholders and being fully aware of the situation, spring is a good time to conduct a quarterly review to see exactly where we are in order. This helps us have a clear starting point to re-adjust our goals for the coming year.

One of the main problems tends to be that we look back at the things we haven’t done and where we didn’t get the results we intended. Because of this, we get ourselves in a state of anxiety which is hardly a resourceful state for setting positive goals.

A better approach is to be nice to ourselves. Have a look back over the last three months and check all the things you have achieved. Give yourself a treat for all of the things you planned to achieve and did. They may be something as simple as maintaining a to-do list or smiling more.

Afterwards, think of all the things you achieved which weren’t planned and congratulate yourself on your flexibility and creativity; for the person with the greatest flexibility of behaviour controls the outcomes.

For those results that weren’t as you intended, remind yourself that we all make the correct choice at the time we make it. We don’t deliberately make the wrong choices and whatever the outcome, there’s always a positive intention. There’s no failure, only feedback, and we learn more from our failures than we do our successes.

“Be good to yourself. Listen to your body, to your heart. We’re very hard on ourselves, and we’re always feeling like we’re not doing enough. It’s a terribly hard job.” – Marcia Wallace

Look to yourself

It is vital, especially for sole proprietors or owner/managers, to manage themselves in order to be fit, healthy, and relatively happy. Evidence points to a clear relationship between our moods and assorted aspects of job performance such as decision-making, creativity, teamwork, negotiation and leadership.

While success may put us in a good mood, an organisation that sees the glass as half full rather than half empty, stands a better chance in these difficult times.

Depressed individuals will always see the glass as half-empty and even rapidly emptying. This attitude saps energy and leaves those affected feeling worthless, helpless, and hopeless. In its worst case, depression can impair the ability to communicate and it’s not hard to see the organisational parallels.

Below are three elements within all of us that need to be taken care of:

1. Your mind

The key to a healthy mind is variety, so take an interest in other people, things, events and current affairs. Adopting an open and curious mindset allows us to see future possibilities and hence be more empowered.

2. Your body

A healthy body requires a solid routine. Ensure you eat and drink healthy products (especially water) and get plenty of rest and exercise. Knowing our own limitations and taking action to stay within them ensures we operate at our best.

3. Your spirit

Much has been written about feeding or maintaining the spirit but I believe there is one simple rule. Believe in something that is true to you and spend time each day with your true beliefs. Solitude is the nurse of enthusiasm and is as needful to the imagination as friends are to our character.

“Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” – Dolly Parton

Beyond individual performance, there are broader issues at stake. None of us are islands, happy in our own little depressed world. Moods, good or bad, are infectious and some people or positions can have a greater ripple effect than others. If a shy apprentice has a gloomy outlook, few may notice. But if people like the owner/manager are wandering around looking like the end of the world is coming, that can directly affect team spirit.

Water bearer or well poisoner

So what can the organisation do? Firstly, as individuals, we must show a positive and upbeat demeanor. That’s not easy and faking it will easily be spotted as the deception will be transparent. This isn’t unauthentic, but merely an attempt to empower ourselves.

Congruent leadership offers the means to put into words what it is you are experiencing with the person in order so your behaviour is consistent with your own values and beliefs such that you always appear to be what you desire to be.

Your mood as a leader then is highly contagious. Even though leaders or opinion formers aren’t always in leadership positions, they’re at the centre of informal networks. They have charisma and magnetism, possess strong opinions, and express them forcefully. Therefore, they have considerable social power and can have a direct effect on morale by being a water bearer or well poisoner. Which are you today?

What resonated most with you about this article and leadership? Share your thoughts below!

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The 6 Step Process for Delivering Critical Feedback in a Constructive Way

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We have all been in the position where we knew we needed to have a difficult conversation at work that involved delivering constructive feedback. Maybe a major deadline was missed, there was a clear decline in performance, or someone blatantly dropped the ball. Most of us avoid delivering the feedback, and the conversation can get pushed back again and again, wasting valuable time and money.

Delivering constructive feedback is challenging, and uncomfortable for most people, even highly trained leaders. Yet, delivering and accepting feedback is one of the most important keys for success. So why do we avoid these conversations? Because we never learned how to have them.

Open, honest, direct communication is not a skill we are taught in school. There is no “How to Have Tough Conversations” 101. As a clinical psychologist that specializes in couples work, I see just how important communication is in maintaining thriving relationships. I understand that good communication is the foundation of every successful relationship; both intimate relationships and your work relationships.

Below is a 6-step guide to providing constructive feedback:

Step 1: Clarity on the Goal of the Conversation  

The first step is to get clear on the goal of the feedback conversation. Are you planning to see a change in performance, simply communicate how you felt, or receive an apology? Get clear on what you are hoping to get out of the conversation. Be honest with yourself about what you need, what is most helpful to the relationship, and what is most helpful to the organization. Getting clear on the goal also ensures you are speaking with the right person.

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better.” – Elon Musk

Step 2: Invitation

Set up a time to talk. Feedback conversations are not meant to be had in the hallway. It is important that both parties can set aside adequate time and have the space needed for dialogue. Additionally, there must be respect for both parties’ need for time to process information. For example, if you are delivering feedback, and the receiver needs time to process the feedback before responding, setting up a subsequent meeting will be most helpful.

Step 3: Ownership

Own the role you played in creating the situation. When you model ownership of blind spots, failures, or missteps, you set the stage for the receiver to do the same. For example, you may acknowledge that you were not aware of how to support your employee and not aware of the problem until x situation occurred. Equally important as owning your role, is owning your emotions. Own your emotions using “I” statements. For example, “I felt disappointed when I realized your sales performance had substantially declined”.

Step 4: Open, Honest, Direct Feedback

Feedback that dances around the problem does not do anyone any good. It only increases anxiety on behalf of the receiver, and potentially causes the feedback to get totally lost. The conversation needs to be open, honest, and direct. For example: “I felt concerned when you did not attend the last two strategy calls this month…It brought up questions for me about your commitment to the company.”

Step 5: Listen, Validate and Accept

When providing feedback, it is important both parties maintain an open mind, and respond in a way that communicates validation and acceptance. As soon as an individual gets defensive, feedback cannot be taken in, and the value of the conversation dramatically decreases. When providing feedback it is important to listen, validate, and accept your receiver’s viewpoint. Notice, I did not say agree. This looks something like saying: “I can see why X led you to commit Y , I understand you were under a great deal of stress/dealing with a personal situation/frustrated.”

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” – Bill Gates

Step 6: A Clear Plan for Moving Forward

In providing feedback, the magic is that now things can change! If feedback is never given, relationships end, things will stay the same, businesses will die, and money will be lost. If you have gotten to this step, that means you did the hard work, and now you get to put change into action. A clear plan includes an acknowledgement from both parties regarding what they will do differently to prevent the situation from occurring again, and how they will stay accountable in making the change happen.

The good news about delivering feedback is that the more you do it, the easier it gets. Remember, giving and receiving feedback is one of the most surefire ways to open yourself up to massive growth.

As a giver of feedback, it is your job to model openness and a desire for growth, so that the receiver may take in the feedback and make the necessary changes. Exceling at feedback delivery will help you set you apart from others and enable you to achieve extraordinary relationships, in both your personal and work lives.

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Here Are 4 Reasons Why You Should Have a Podcast, Youtube Channel or Online Show

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Confidence comes from a place of strong understanding of self. After close to three years on radio, I’ve grown from a shy introvert to a shy introvert with an extrovert persona. When the mic is turned on, I can channel a version of myself that some say is attractive, strong, and of course, confident but it wasn’t always this way.

What I want to share with you is what I discovered on this journey into broadcast that you can apply to your life, your ventures, and your personal development. This doesn’t require any fancy gear. It does require a leap of faith on your part because once you go down the road of media; it can change your life.

1. Perceived Expertise

When you go to a doctor, you expect their knowledge will guide them to a solution to your problems. When you have a show, you become your listeners’ doctor. For all the multiple thousands, maybe millions, of YouTube channels, podcasts, and user-created content in the world, each person that gets behind a mic takes a position on their passion, their opinions, and their themes.

They challenge the status quo for the benefit of their listeners in hopes to entertain and educate. With consistency on your side, those fans place you on a platform and give you permission to influence them.

2. Global Acknowledgement

One of the benefits to increasing confidence is when you receive thank you notes from people you may never meet. The feeling of enriching someone’s life from halfway around the globe, provides validation you’re enhancing someone else’s life with your wisdom and your wit.

The very first time I was told I was making a difference in someone’s life in a country other than my own, I felt like I caused massive impact that transcends my circle of influence. When you experience just how much you can cause impact and it comes back to you, it’ll change your worldview.

“Be grateful for what you have and stop complaining – it bores everybody else, does you no good, and doesn’t solve any problems.” – Zig Ziglar

3. Backed By Numbers

One of the most exciting ways to measure success is to quantify your growth. It’s not enough to just broadcast. Having subscribers and downloads helps to know, numerically, how well you’re doing. Word of caution. This can be a way to set yourself up for distress because of number envy but if you understand what the numbers mean; you can control the narrative of the numbers.

The major number that makes most people smile is 10,000. I’d advise it to be 1. Here’s why. As you grow in your industry, so does your reach. If you learned that the one person that subscribed totally changed for the better because of you, wouldn’t that be worth the effort?

4. Effective Communication

While it’s not talked about much, having a show is documentation. You create a dynamic account of your life, your industry, and the pulse on what’s important simply by having a show. When you find a channel to improve your communication skills, you demand attention and people will listen to you. You become more trusted as a leader and people will follow you once they believe you can lead them to their wants and needs.

“To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.” – Tony Robbins

These insights have helped many people become leaders and, ultimately, move others to their best selves. It’s worked for me and I hope it works for you. At the end of the day, it’s all about showing up and showing out.

Have you ever thought about having a radio show? If so, what would you talk about? Let us below!

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5 Essential Skills to Drive Success in Every Niche

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There are many people who don’t have the courage to launch a business in a niche as they think they don’t have the right skills and experience to obtain success. While there are specific skills which determine the success in every niche, there are also some general skills which ensure success in any business you would try.

Below are 5 essential skills you need to drive success in every aspect of your life:

1. Ambition

When you launch a new business, you need to be prepared for difficult moments such as fighting the competition and winning your target audience. Moreover, if you follow some successful entrepreneurs, you should keep in mind that they also faced difficulties and continue to experience them. So, how does a successful entrepreneur get over all the difficulties?

The essential skill you need to possess is called ambition. Set small and clear milestones in your development plan and use your ambition to go over each difficulty and finalize what you had in your mind. It doesn’t matter how hard the path is going to be. Visualize your target and put in all the efforts to achieve it. Staying organized and scheduling each step to get things done are some of the techniques you can use to achieve success.

2. Listen to those around you

While listening to your instincts is necessary if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, this is not enough. As your business develops, you will have an entire team to manage and lead to success. Therefore, you cannot be a successful leader and have success in every niche unless you learn how to listen to the people around you.

You should listen to your employees and discover what they are expecting from you. This is the way to follow if you want to keep your team motivated and help them give the best of themselves.

On the other hand, you will need to listen to your customers to improve your products and services and provide excellent customer support. By listening carefully to the voice of your customers, you will be able to stand out of the competition and ensure their loyalty towards your brand.

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos

3. Courage

When you decided to become an entrepreneur and build your own business, it means you are a courageous person. Courage will help you harness the power of creativity. Don’t be afraid to take risks if you feel a specific action will bring more success to your business.

Apart from doing intensive research on your ideas and developing the exact steps you are going to follow, you will need the courage to implement them. Not all the ideas will turn out to be successful.

Regardless, you will have something to learn from each success or mistake and this will help you move your business even further. When you have the courage to follow a path which is not very familiar to you, this is going to be the moment when you will widen your horizons and exceed your limits to achieve success.

4. Creativity and imagination

If you already implemented your idea and you see that it works, you most probably think that you don’t need to change anything to achieve more success. You need to keep in mind that customers’ preferences change and your competition is waiting for your mistakes to “steal” your clients.

Therefore, you need to use your creativity and imagination to improve your products and services to meet your customers’ expectations. What is more, creativity can also mean that you are open to talk to new people and use their experience to improve something in your business.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” – Steve Jobs

5. Continuous learning

If you want to drive success in every niche you will need to show a willingness to learn. You need to stay updated with what happens in your niche and what your customers expect from you.

Education is not only something for school. It is a lifelong process, and you should be open to seek knowledge and improve your skills with every opportunity. An efficient trick is to stay close to people who are already successful in your industry, ask their opinions on various subjects and learn from their experience.

The above five essential skills will help you build a successful business in every niche. A true leader is ambitious, knows to listen to the people around him, and is always open to learning from others.

No matter the size of your business, you will need to be creative and use your imagination to improve your products and services. These skills will help any leader develop new skills, stand out of the crowd, and strengthen his position on the market.

What skill do you think is most important to be successful in life? Let us know below!

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