The art of creating connection!
Rapport is the process of matching body language, voice, and thought patterns between two or more people. You often see it between close friends, lovers, colleagues, parents and children – two people that move, speak, and breathe in a way that matches or mirrors each other. Rapport enhances connection and communication and plays a key part in building relationships.
One will lean back, so will the other. One will scratch his head, followed by the other. Body angles, tone of voice, style of language, may all be similar, and more importantly, each takes the cue from the other. This is a natural consequence of the pleasant relationship, familiarity or similar background and status. The people are unlikely to be aware of the physical process, only knowing that they are comfortable in each other’s company. Ultimately the whole energy field, brainwave pattern and biochemistry end up in synch.
The opposite end of the spectrum can occur when one person is particularly dominant, but the pattern will be of one moving forward, the other backing off, one voice increasing in volume, the other getting softer. This can indicate aggression, or two widely different cultural styles (perhaps mid-European male with Asian female), or significant difference in status.
Although rapport occurs naturally with people we like – or is it that we like people we naturally have rapport with? – it is possible to create the same effect ‘artificially’. They are several approaches here. After a while they flow into each other and the rapport becomes natural; it’s a skill that transfers easily to each new person you connect with!
THIS MUST BE DONE GENTLY, SUBTLY AND WITH RESPECT. Only match things that you are comfortable with – don’t take on an asthmatic’s breathing or an unhappy person’s posture! Being in rapport with an angry or depressed person must be done in limited ways. Try any of the following:
- Decide that you like the person, and look for any similarities between you – let rapport create itself.
- Partially match body angle, leg crossing, head tilt or other obvious body posture, changing a few moments later than the other person if they shift. This can be done on the same or opposite side of the body. If you feel a need to scramble to a new position, slow down, and match smaller things.
- Speak at the same speed, and if there is a distinct accent, gently add some of the rhythm of the speech
- Use similar metaphors when discussing a subject
- Use the same descriptive style – a person will often use a preferred type of adjective: visual, emotional, auditory or academic, or a mix of two or more.
- Nod or smile as they do
- Feed back some of their gestures when appropriate, toned down if they are too dissimilar to your own to look natural.
- Tap, fidget or walk at the same speed they do. It looks less obvious if you tap as they walk, or do a different sort of movement at the same pace.
- Speak as they exhale. This is very soothing.
- Match the speed of their breathing with a foot tap or other small movement.
- If someone is consistently negative, try using double negatives instead of a directly positive statement. You can then rephrase the concept positively.
It’s a good idea to start by noticing what you do naturally with people you get on well with. Then see if you can improve rapport by exploring one or two options.
For further information on workshops and private sessions, please contact Jen Tiller
01462 624 160