Five Steps To Building Rapport
August 28, 2023
People I work with often ask me how I manage to develop deep connections and rapport with people I may have met recently. Pondering on my relationships and experiences, I can pinpoint five deliberate practices I consistently employ to establish a strong rapport with people I come into contact with.
- Be curious to figure out what is meaningful and important for the other person: Everyone finds meaning in something- family, native place, alma mater, family, kids, food, outdoor activity, etc. I make it a goal to know what the other person holds as important and meaningful. And importantly, whenever I meet the person, I try to learn something new or more that will help me understand the person better.
- Be fully present- When someone spares time to connect with me, it is a privilege the other person gives me. When I am in the conversation, I am fully on and attentive to everything the person is saying. I keep my phone out of bounds. This conveys respect for the other person, and naturally, they reciprocate.
- Take notes and keep track: It is one thing to learn about others; it is a different matter to keep track of the information and trust your memory. So, I have a process for keeping track of these crucial pieces of information. I capture details of all my interactions in my daily journal. Whenever I meet someone I have already met, I review my journal and refresh my memory. People like it when you remember small details about them.
- Ask meaningful questions. Everyone wants to be understood and valued for who they are. Whether your questions are business or personally focused, recognize that when you ask the other person for their opinion or advice (and you really want it), it will build rapport with that person. My questions are a way to show the other person I care.
- Share meaningful information. Information sharing is a great way to add value and build rapport. I often do this informally when they mention something I know about. For example, in some situations, I send them a note with an article attached, a link to a website or a blog, or a book they may find interesting. Bottomline- the simple act of sharing meaningful information shows the other person that I am thinking about them and care about what is important to them.
Taken separately, each of these ideas will make a small difference. However, they are steps that, when done consistently and authentically, will build rapport and relationships faster than you can imagine.