To overcome this barrier within us, there are nine attributes one can acquire to build a sincere and warm rapport. As you read each point, ask yourself:
- Do I practise this?
- What stops me?
- Why do I exhibit such fundamentals with some people and not with others?
- Eye Contact
Eye contact, a non-verbal communication skill, portrays meaningful and important sign of confidence in a person while trying to connect to the audience during a social communication. Poor eye contact means low self-confidence and self-esteem. Looking at someone directly in the eye is an intimate moment between the two people. Warmth, sincerity, respect, enthusiasm, anger, anticipation, judgement and so on can be conveyed in the very moments when an eye meets an eye.
When we listen attentively to another person, we are giving them the greatest gifts – respect! When we listen to another person, we are telling the other person that he or she is important to me. Think about it, how many people in your life right now that truly listens whole-heartedly without interrupting you ? Such person makes you feel that what you have to say is important and interesting. That’s the person we really want to talk to. That’s what building rapport is all about – making somebody feel valued.
- Ask questions
Asking question is one of the best approaches to convey that you care and it brings listening a step further. When we ask questions about the other person such as his opinions and interests, we make him or her feel appreciated and respected. Can you think of anyone who doesn’t want to feel like that? John C. Maxwellsaid it well, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”.
People prefer to be or work with someone who exudes confidence. The more you believe in yourself, the more others will believe in you. Research has shown that six percent of communication is non-verbal where people form opinions about us based on the image we portrayed – the way we carry ourselves, dress-up, and our facial expressions. Hence, an important strategy in building rapport is to appear at our most confident self at all times even if we are nervous.
Humour is the best ice-breaker; an essential in tension and anxiety release in rapport building. When we share a laugh with someone, we feel more comfortable and connected with them. Most people would deal with someone with a sense of humour rather than those who take everything seriously. A good sense of humour can preserve our self-respect and protect us from self-pity, making us better prepared to deal with tension areas of our lives.
Honesty is the vital fundamental in establishing and maintaining healthy, trusting and lasting relationship. Not pretending or just be ourselves is a way to express your honesty. The worst and most harmful thing that can happen to us when we lie is that we lose the respect we have for ourselves. When that happens, it is almost impossible to expect respect from others. At the right time and place, showing our vulnerable side or our “real self” to others is a big asset to connect to another person.
- Positive Attitude
People crave to be inspired and motivated by positive people. Positive people are attractive people. Practise positive language until it forms your habit. As time goes, you will actually feel positive. Whether you are talking to yourself, or to your pet, you can lift your spirits with the positive attitude – think positive and speak positively. We have a choice to look at the bright and dark side of any situation, what choice is yours?
- Like and Respect People
Like and respect others like how you want others to treat you in return. Stephen R. Covey said it well, “People tend to behave as you expect they will. So always think positively.” People who often live in judgement of others tend to do badly in building rapport. Liking people has to be started with liking oneself. Everyone deserves an opportunity to be liked and respected, including you. Here is a good quote to help you to build rapport with someone, “You learn to like someone when you find out what makes them laugh, but you can never truly love someone until you find out what makes them cry.”
- Be an attractive person
List three physical features that you really like about yourself, and feel good about it. When we believe we are attractive, we are. Lady Gaga, Robbie Williams, Oprah Winfrey and Bete Midler are incredibly attractive people. They draw us to them with their confidence, humour, self-acceptance and inner strength. So, being attractive is not about being a cover page model, it’s about personal acceptance and appreciation.
Knowledge is useless unless action is taken. So, you have got the knowledge to build rapport, take action now. Begin by taking the first step to reach out to others. Talk to the person who greets you in the morning. Smile to the person who passes by your sitting place. Greet the janitor who cleans your office. Learn the name of the person who answered the phone at the company you called. Laugh at yourself when you make a silly mistake. Feeling connected is what building rapport is all about. You will find that, the more you reach out, the more will come back to you. And that’s what life is all about.