Building rapport is what enables people to smoothly navigate all aspects of life. Regardless of what path you are on, relationships are vital for fulfillment and success in almost every area, especially love and work. So knowing how to build good rapport easily is essential when you are seeking a happy and successful life.

For good coaching, you have to build strong rapport with clients very quickly, it is essential for any change work, especially mindset change, to be achieved so that clients can get the success they desire.

For meaningful relationships, and romance, to blossom, rapport is essential. Without it, trust in partners never establishes, causing things to fall apart very easily.

In sales situations of all types, and most things involve negotiation in life even if you are not in sales, even doctors persuading a patient regarding a specific type of treatment or lifestyle change is a sale, rapport is vital. For I.T. teams and consultants, getting change to systems, even internal systems, is a sale.

The reality is, while most people know that building rapport is worthwhile, they rarely know how to, or how to do so effectively. Yet it can be incredibly easy, and often major breakthroughs with rapport can be achieved in seconds.

Being Able To Build Rapport Is Vital For Building Relationships Of All Types With Good Rapport Enabling The Conditions For Success To Flow Easily

Building Rapport Meaning

Building rapport is essentially building trust. The deeper the rapport, the deeper the trust that exists.

Most people equate this to how well you know a person, and that building trust takes a long time. The reality is that trust comes through mostly on the unconscious level within the mind, and is achieved as a result of certain checklists being fulfilled to a required weighting, again, all of which is done unconsciously.

As such, it is completely possible to build rapport quickly on an unconscious level, without even talking to a person, or any words being shared.

Importance Of Rapport Building

Trust is the foundation of every relationship in life.

Ergo, unless you can build trust with people, it will become impossible for progression, fulfillment and success to come to you with anything you wish to do, have or be.

Relationships Where Trust And Rapport Are Essential

  • Love and Romance
  • Business and Career
  • Family
  • Friendship
  • Study and Learning
  • Sales and Purchasing
  • Health and Wellness

Romantic partners, whether when asking for a date or many years into marriage, must trust each other for a harmonious relationship to exist.

In business and career, progression is more dependent on how well liked you are, than how skilled you are at what you do. It is very common for people with little to no skill to climb rapidly, just because they know and are liked by the right people.

With family, especially with raising children, trust must exist, otherwise there is a breakdown into dysfunction and toxicity. Children need a certain level of discipline, and healthy boundaries, otherwise they lose respect for their parents, becoming uncontrollable and deeply unhappy. Equally well, without enough room to grow and push boundaries they become resentful. Unless they trust their parents they will never listen, and become lost until they decide to change their lives.

For study and learning, teachers and students must trust each other, otherwise small issues can become blown into larger ones. With mistrust forming over grades and work that has been set.

With sales and purchasing, two sides of the same coin, both parties must trust each other for a deal to come together successfully. People never buy unless they trust the vendor. Equally well, discounts are never forthcoming where possible, along with service enhancements or variations, unless the seller likes and trusts the buyer.

Where health and wellness are concerned, patients and clients must trust doctors, psychologists, coaches and therapists in order for treatment to proceed smoothly to a successful outcome. Equally well, everyone involved with performing any type of therapy must be able to trust their patient or client, otherwise motives and results become questioned, with possible breakdown to the point of being unable to work together occurring.

Without rapport, relationships become unviable, and thus achievement of successful results becomes impossible too. Ergo, effective rapport building is vital throughout everything in life where people are involved.

What Are The 4 Principles Of Rapport?

The Four Principles Empathy Authenticity Similarity Shared Experience

There are four principles widely acknowledged as having involvement with the establishment of trust and building relationships.

PrincipleMeaning
EmpathyDo they believe that you care about them?
AuthenticityAre you perceived as being genuine?
SimilarityWhat are points of likeness that you share?
Shared ExperienceWhat things have you both done which are in common?

Why Is Building Rapport Difficult?

For most people it is challenging to do because they are unaware of what’s actually involved.

They have a an awareness to a limited degree that things like good communication, a firm handshake, body language, eye contact, active listening, and common ground all help establish common ground and mutual trust. Though are usually unaware of how to do these things effectively, and how to do the myriad of other things which can be far more effective where building trust is involved.

Rapport building is actually very easy, when you know what you’re doing.

How To Build Rapport Easily

Mutual Trust Can Be Helped Along Through Deeper Conversations

In that trust is built on an unconscious level, it is completely possible to develop rapport without even talking to someone. Granted, you can share various experiences, and that will have an effect. The majority of trust comes from the level to which a person believes they are like you, and that is all assessed within the unconscious mind.

Essentially, the majority of points whereby you can develop rapport and trust, have nothing to do with spoken or written words.

While there are many specific situations where people commonly have issues with establishing trust, and creating a positive atmosphere conducive to success, there are some core fundamentals which transcend the specifics of almost every situation.

Building Rapport Psychology

As previously mentioned, building rapport is a largely unconscious process, even if most people attempt to do it from a conscious one. The psychology involved is all related to making someone see similarities between you.

Essentially, the closer someone’s feeling as to how much you are like them, rather than how much you like them, is the marker for how much they will trust you.

You can like someone a lot, and have zero trust, or even recognition from them. When they perceive you as being like them, in various respects, they will trust you.

The real power comes when the boundaries of perception blur to the point of them believing you are the same person. Which is completely possible to do, though in many ways highly inadvisable due to the confusion that can come as a result. Realistically, when you build rapport you want to take it as close to that point as possible, without actually crossing it. That is, enough distinction must be left so that they can still recognize you as a separate person.

Most people will never reach this level, even after years of blissful, harmonious marriage, or years of serious teamwork with someone. Yet is can be achieved within hours, or even minutes, depending on the skill held with techniques such as matching and mirroring.

Building trust comes from a lot more than shared sense of experience, or perception of compassion. A great deal comes from things like mannerisms, breathing rate, tonality, along with some other key non-verbal actions.

How Do You Build Instant Rapport?

Matching And Mirroring Establish Trust Faster Than Common Ground Does

Two of the simplest ways to build instant rapport are:

  • Matching
  • Mirroring

Both of these are related to body language.

With matching you take on the same posture as the other person, for example; what they with their right arm, you do too.

With mirroring you form a mirror image of what the other person does, for example; what they do with their right arm, you do with your left.

This is a very basic overview of those two techniques. They go a lot deeper, something which is wise is leaving delays with certain things. One key point on this is that if they’re explaining something and using gestures then refrain from doing those same gestures while they’re talking. Instead, wait until you reply, or move on to explain something, then employ those same gestures, i.e. only use gestures at a contextually congruent time.

Using Breathing To Build Rapport

It is completely possible to build deep rapport through just breathing.

When you can match a person’s breathing rate, and ideally depth too, they pick up on it unconsciously.

They are completely unaware of this, all they are aware of is that they know they can trust you. The reasoning for this is that breathing is a very unique and personal thing. When someone is breathing at the same rate as you, a perception is created of synchronization. Due to the way information is processed, with deletion, distortion and generalization of most of the 2,000,000 bits of information per second coming in through your senses, down to 134 bits of information per second that you are made aware of consciously, the fact that someone is breathing at the same rate as you almost never reaches your conscious mind.

Your unconscious mind however does flag it as a point or perception that the other person is very much like you due to that synchronization.

Done well enough, it can greatly blur the perception of being separate people. Effectively taking things to the point whereby deep trust can be developed almost instantly when this is done well enough.

Eye Contact And Developing Trust

Use of eye contact is widely acknowledged as important for trust and developing relationships.

When the ability to build rapport is important, ensure you remove anything like sunglasses or other things that obscure or cover your eyes.

Most people get a sense of whether someone is telling the truth from their eyes, along with an understanding as to whether that person means them any harm. Many years ago the British Army ran an advertising campaign for recruitment where the ad was done from the perspective of looking through the soldier’s eyes. As they drew closer to a well in an African village the local militia became increasingly agitated, regardless of the words spoken that agitation only increased, in part due to lack of understanding of the language difference and intent for approaching. The ad, and the situation, concluded with the soldier removing their sunglasses, and showing their eyes, at which point the situation was completely diffused, and peace established.

Good eye to eye connection can seriously empower trust and personal relationships.

Building Rapport Examples

  • When meeting new clients or selling something
  • Helping a patient make a decision about treatment
  • Making new friends or deepening relationships with acquaintances
  • Asking someone out on a date or to continue going out after a first date
  • Leading and developing a team or becoming part of a team

These are all situations where the ability to build rapport is crucial for successful results to be possible.

Great Relationships Can Be Built Through Non Verbal Techniques

How Do You Build Rapport With Colleagues?

Paying attention to working relationships, whether they’re direct reports to you as their manager, you report to them, or they’re in different teams, can make work much easier and smoother.

All the points of unconscious building of trust can and should be used, especially during meetings, and even in social settings too.

Shared interests can be useful, though even without them good relationships can be created. In more relaxed settings, such as the water cooler or break room, small talk which shows you have an interest in them, and remember key details, will be enough to trigger and understanding that they can like and trust you, when done over time.

Being approachable, being their to help and assist, is also highly beneficial. You need to remain professional, keeping on the right side of policies, while remaining friendly. A good introduction can really help create good ground to work from, though it can all be lost in an instant if you come across as unprofessional later.

Building Rapport With Students

You never need to let students control classrooms to build trust.

Listen to their needs, help them in a way that fits with their learning style, so that they can comprehend and process information easily and effectively. Help them to understand a point of learning easily, and achieve a breakthrough, and they will really appreciate you for it.

Plus of course, use the various unconscious trust building techniques mentioned above, all of which can be done with multiple students at once. You just have to pick the right students to start with, then chain things together.

Building Rapport With Patients

A good doctor patient connection is essential in so many situations, yet rarely is there enough time for building trust in the way most would like. Time is often short, so deeper conversations often have to give way to a shorter to the point conversation, which leave out much that most desire.

Key, beyond the use of unconscious techniques mentioned above, is ensuring the other person’s needs are understood. For this, using the neuro linguistic programming communication model, especially regarding predicates, is highly beneficial. Feeding their words back to them, in the same way they came to you.

When they say “I rarely get the sense of my neck being as mobile as I would like.” Feed back to them along the lines of “through this treatment we will help you get that sense of mobility back.” The key word being ‘sense’ there.

Doctors rarely need to find common ground, they do need to establish faith in procedures and recommendations for treatment. So never concern yourself about disparities in lifestyle, you can find common ground if you like, there are better ways to establish trust though.

How To Build Rapport With Customers

With customers, aside from the vital unconscious and non-verbal techniques, focus on the other person’s needs.

As you talk with clients, use open ended questions when you talk. Allow them to open up, and share the information needed so that you can serve them effectively.

As a point of note, the word ‘sell’ comes from the old English ‘sellen’ which meant to give, supply, deliver up. With further origin coming from the old Norse ‘selja’ which meant to hand over, deliver. Much of which related more to serving, and being of service, than for exchanging money for something. This relates very closely to what makes a good sales situation now, essentially that people buy when they believe they have been well served and their needs met best, and ideally respectfully.

Creating understanding, and ensuring that customers hold the perspective that you’re serving their best interests, is key to that relationship.

Build A Rapport With Someone You Have Just Met

While shared sense of common experiences can be highly beneficial, never create shared experiences. Doing so is developing lies, which will be found out later, and destroy what had been created.

Break the ice cordially, and in a way that reflects the context of the encounter. Be polite and compassionate if you want to get the best results longer term. Then, communicate effectively, use open ended questions to learn about the other person, and show genuine interest in them. Work with the different non-verbal trust building methods including body language at the same time.

Issues That Block Building Rapport And Overcoming Them

Eye Contact Can Help Build Rapport Though Never Hold It Too Long

While understanding facial expressions, encouraging sounds, and body movements can be powerful, along with avoiding things like having arms crossed which is generally considered blocking and defensive, there are some far deeper level issues that can block progression of trust.

What is written above in this article is the nuts and bolts of establishing trust and faith. Provided you are being present, these techniques will help you build better rapport.

There is a deeper element of emotional intelligence involved though.

Issues with limiting decisions and limiting beliefs can block trust and faith. Much of this relates to issues with self esteem and self love. When you have a negative view of yourself, then others will too. Regardless of how well you dress, and what you say, signals will come through your tone of voice and body movements which betray your inner feelings and thoughts.

When you are consistently having issues with relationship building and meeting people, getting rid of limiting beliefs and limiting decisions, going through complete mindset change, can be a point of huge impact. Having support from a skilled NLP coach that can go through high impact mindset coaching can yield effects which benefit you in all areas for the rest of your life.

Building rapport can be done very simply and easily. Once you have good self awareness of your body language, can adapt through matching and mirroring, using shifts with tone of voice, active listening and ensure that you come across as present and genuinely interested in whoever you are with, you can build rapport with ease.