Let us take a peek at the basics of developing rapport with others.
In a nutshell, what it takes is to ask questions, have a positive, open attitude, encourage an open exchange of communications (both verbal and unspoken), listen to verbal and unspoken communications, and share positive feedback.
Here are important details on each step:
1. Ask Questions- Building rapport is similar to interviewing someone for a job opening or it can be like a reporter seeking information for an article. Relax and get to know the other person with the goal of finding common ground or things of interest. You can begin by simply commenting on the other person’s choice of attire, if in person, or about their computer, if online, and following up with related questions. For example, in person, you could compliment the other person on their color choice and or maybe a pin, ring, or another piece of jewelry and ask where it came from. In online communications, you could complement the other person’s font, smiley faces or whatever they use, mention that the communication style seems relaxed and ask if he or she writes a lot. Then basically follow up, steering clear of topics that could entice or cause arguing, while gradually leading the person to common ground you’d like to discuss.
2. Attitude- Have a positive attitude and leave social labels at home (or in a drawer, if you’re at home). Many people can tell instantly if you have a negative attitude or if you feel superior. So treat other people as you would like to be treated. And give each person a chance.
3. Open Exchange- Do encourage others to share with you. Some people are shy, scared or inexperienced in communicating and welcome an opportunity to share. So both with body language and verbal communication invite an exchange. Face the other person with your arms open, eyes looking into theirs gently (not glaring or staring), and encourage a conversation with a warm smile.
4. Listen- Be an active listener. Don’t focus your thoughts on what YOU will say next. Listen to what the other person is saying and take your clues from there, while also noting the body language. For example, if the other person folds his arms and sounds upset, you may need to change the subject or let him have some space and distance; maybe even try approaching him later on and excusing yourself to go make a phone call (or head to the buffet table or somewhere to escape). On the other hand, if the other person is leaning towards you, following your every word and communicating with you as if you were old friends, BINGO. You’ve built rapport!
5. Give Compliments- So hand them out freely without overdoing it. Leaving a nice part of yourself like a compliment is a good memory for the other person to recall – numerous times. That’s good rapport. But do be sincere! False compliments aren’t easily disguised.