Ah yes, we are back in the realms of communication, one of my favourite subjects!
Sure, communication is about being articulate in order to be effective – and it’s about truly listening and hearing (and so much more). So when you’re focussing on these aspects, real rapport can feel stifled.
Real rapport comes from a place of authenticity. Hot take – you don’t even have to ‘like’ someone to build a good rapport.
The importance of rapport can fly under the radar at times, especially when the focus is on an outcome. It’s easier to build trust, influence, to learn, and to teach when you have established that rapport in the first place. This will lead to a togetherness in creating opportunities, working towards a common goal, and the influence you will mutually garner.
So, how do you do it?
Some people find building an affinity much easier than others, a natural gift if you will. But that doesn’t mean if you’re not naturally inclined you can’t learn. Of course you can.
There are several behaviours you can learn to improve rapport, whether that be with colleagues, management, your team, or those folk outside of your workplace.
So let’s take an in-person networking event as an example. Sometimes these events can feel stuffy and rigid, everyone is keen to make a professional impression, often to the detriment of showing their personality. Remember, being authentic is super important here. So start by relaxing and letting your true self shine through.
Body language plays a key part in any communication, so check yours…
- Are you leaning in to show you’re interested in what the other person has to say?
- Is your body language open? (think crossing arms in front of you)
- Are you nodding, smiling, using expressions of interest?
And of course verbal expression as well as visual will be an indicator…
- Are you showing empathy and openly agreeing where relevant?
- Are you asking open questions and showing interest?
- Are you referring back to what they have expressed, finding links between shared experiences?
These rapport building prompts are just the tip of the iceberg but they’re extremely effective. Bear them in mind when you’re meeting people for the first time and you want to build the foundations of a strong relationship.
And while we’re speaking of events, Leaders Connect is a great opportunity for you to connect with people in your industry and grow your network.
Check out all the details here:
People will remember you if you’ve engaged and hit it off straight away. And even if you’re not a natural, you’ll soon begin to relax into these behaviours as time goes on when you see the mutual benefits gained along with the new contacts and friendships.
In Part Two of this blog, we’ll be talking about strengthening trust in these newly formed relationships. See you there!