How to Develop Rapport

Rapport is the ability to create a two way connection between people. As a student of NLP you will learn how to quickly create that connection with people so that you are able to bring them around to your point of view. If you want to lead people then you must be able to effectively communicate with them. And you cannot create effective communication without rapport.

The first skill you will want to acquire is matching and mirroring. Have a look around at your local bar or restaurant. Find two people who seem to be deeply connected. Just by observing their body language you will notice how much they seem to be in tune with each other. Their physical actions and the way they talk naturally match and complement each other. We call the reverse of this mismatching. An example of this is a supervisor yelling at a cowering employee. They are obviously mismatched and not in rapport this is clearly not an effective way to communicate with people.

We use match and mirror to naturally replicate the actions of the other person so as to build rapport. This matching and mirroring should include matching their body posture and their gestures. It should also include matching their breathing rates. It also goes as far as matching their energy level. If you are the sort of energetic person who is bouncing all over the place you might think that this will be inspiring for a person who is more restrained. However the fact is you will not be in rapport with this person. You need to “Turn down” your energy levels to match the other person. Remember effective communication is your responsibility not the other persons.

An important point to note here is that if the person realises you are actively trying to mimic them then chances are they will feel like they are being mocked and you will fall out of rapport. You need to have some subtly which means you should create rapport in steps. If you do this naturally then there is little chance that the other person will notice how you have changed your own actions.
An important skill is to learn how to pace. Pacing is about keeping in step with the other person. It is about really listening to them and seeing where they are coming from. You need to be patient with people. Don’t try and force your opinion quickly upon them because it won’t be effective.

Once you have matched and mirrored the other person you will be able to take it to another level and start to lead the other person. Having created rapport you will be able to subtly shift the person down the path you wish them to take, leading them off in a fresh direction. By opening up effective communication the other person will more readily agree with what you are saying. Because it is in congruence with what they already believe they are more likely to accept your suggestions.

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