I am delighted to introduce you to another guest writer on English with a Twist.
Diana Clark is a Career Counsellor based in Philadelphia, USA. In this post, Diana shares three rapport techniques we should adopt if we want to establish strong, positive relationships with our clients and colleagues.
Establishing strong relationships in every area of life is an important component to overall success. This is especially true in business where one needs to have reliable partners in order to succeed. In this article, I’ll share the techniques that help you get customers, win the respect of your colleagues and clients and build strong relationships with them.
I’m talking about rapport. The Cambridge Dictionary gives the definition of rapport as ” a good understanding of someone and an ability to communicate well with them”.
And that’s what good business is all about, isn’t it ?
Understanding and communication.
Here are three rapport techniques you should master.
Technique #1: Matching and Mirroring
Psychologists say that people tend to connect more easily with those who are similar to themselves. And that makes sense doesn’t it? I am more likely to have a more fruitful and better relationship with someone who shares my interests, some of my opinions and behaviours.
Even if we’re not similar we can find ways of matching or mirroring the other person’s behaviour to create rapport.
There are various ways in which we interact with other people. For example, some of us prefer to start with small talk before getting into serious business, while others think it’s better to get straight to the point.
If you recognise someone’s communication style and mirror it, you’re more likely to create a good rapport with them very quickly.
As described in this Forbes article, there are four essential communication styles: analytical, intuitive, functional, and personal.
Depending on what style the other person has, you can respond by matching their style.
For example, if you notice the other person likes to get straight down to business you may say: “Let me look into this issue/matter now”.
However, if they have a more personal communication style where they value emotions and emotional language, you could say: “I can’t imagine how stressful the last few weeks have been”.
There is always a client or colleague who is analytical and prefers raw hard data or evidence to back up your statements so if, for example, you’re presenting your latest sales figures, phrases such has: “Sales have grown by 10% in the last two quarters compared to the same period last year” will be far more effective than “We’ve seen a positive growth in sales”.
Matching the other person’s body language is an effective way of establishing immediate rapport with them.
For example, if a person sits down and crosses their arms, it’s a good idea to do the same. The other person will subconsciously realise that you are on their side.
Or if they happen to lean forward as they speak, try doing the same. That way you’re showing you’re interested in what they’re saying.
The same goes for the voice. If someone speaks more slowly and quietly than you, mirroring them will make them feel more comfortable especially if you tend to speak loudly.
Technique #2: Create a feeling of commonality
This is the essence of rapport that explains it all: people like people who are just like themselves. You can create a feeling of commonality during a business meeting with a client or colleague by finding common ground during a conversation.
One of the best techniques for building rapport through commonality is to look for common experiences with the person and then talking about them. Maybe you are fans of the same baseball team or you both enjoy going on adventure holidays! Even this comparably insignificant fact can go a long way in establishing common ground and the feeling of belonging.
That’s why business small talk is so important. It allows you to discover things that unite you. Find out more about why you need small talk in English.
Technique #3: Active listening
Good rapport and communication also means being an active listener. There’s noting worse than talking to someone who’s not paying attention to you. You soon lose respect for that person, don’t you?
Here’s what you need to do to be an active listener:
- Focus on the person you are speaking with. Every word should be heard if you want to understand that person. So, forget about checking your phone (even if it’ll only take a quick second) and thinking about the last game of your favourite sports team. Listening is the centre of your universe at that moment. Use your eyes and head (by nodding) and make filler phrases like “I see”, “Really”, “Oh wow”, “Gosh”. That way the person knows you’re actively listening to them.
- Summarise. This is a widely used technique that ensures you’ve got all the important information during a conversation. After the other speaker has finished, repeat all the key points of what was said. That shows the other person you were listening. Of course, this would work especially well where you’re in a formal setting.
Building positive relations in business is critical to your success. By using the above rapport techniques, you will form long-lasting partnerships that will benefit your career.
But don’t forget that meaningful and trustworthy relationships require time and effort to establish, so don’t take them for granted!
Very wise words, Diana. Thank you for sharing them with us.
About Diana Clark
Diana Clark is a Career Counsellor and a Passionate Writer.
Diana discovers new business tips, suggests best solutions for business relations development and provides essay writing help at College papers.
Follow Diana on Linkedin.
Do you have any tried and tested techniques on creating rapport for business success? Why not share them here on EWAT?
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Ciao for now