by Connie Brannan, CHt. & Licensed Trainer of NLP ®.
What is the core secret to creating positive relationships? There’s a skill set involved, and we have a name for it: rapport.
You can learn and develop rapport skills–the ability to positively connect. Doing so will enhance your life in so many ways, allowing you to experience a “mutual trust and harmonious emotional affinity” with others as the dictionary defines rapport! I think of it more as connection and understanding, as in “being on the same wavelength,” or as Randy Jackson from American Idol used to say: “I feel ya, Dog!”
Here are some wondrous and wondrously easy NLP techniques to develop and maintain rapport.
We all have our own reality and internal experiences of the world. We give off “clues” (sometimes screamingly loud clues) to these internal states through our body language, gestures, and more, which can be read by those with whom we interact. Words themselves are a very small part of how we communicate.
Here’s a simple technique you can practice every day to build rapport and make stronger connections! In the NLP world (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), it’s called “mirroring” and it allows you to share another person’s experience and model of the world. Understanding and appreciating another person’s world is basic to bridging worlds. As you’re sitting with someone, or talking to someone, maintain eye contact and do this:
Notice and physically match any of the person’s communication mannerisms:
Speech, tone, tempo and volume
Pick one category of thing at a time, and focus on that. When you successfully connect in this way, you share another person’s experience and gain a greater understanding of their world, and give them a sense of your appreciation, harmony and respect.
Practice this so that matching flows naturally–if you’re heavy-handed or obvious with this, people may feel that they are being mocked, and that would generate the opposite of rapport. More subtle is more powerful. Go for it! See how people respond favorably to you when you connect and develop rapport using these unconscious communications.
Here’s another rapport technique involving another type of matching: language.
Listen to the words someone uses. Which of their five senses do they use most to describe their world? Most people have a primary in any given moment or context. Do they speak in:
— VISUAL/sight words (examples: “I see what you mean,” or “I view it this way”)
— AUDITORY/sound words (examples: “I hear what you’re saying,” or “That rings a bell with me”)
— KINESTHETIC/touch words (examples: “I have a feeling you’re right” or “I can’t get a handle on that”)
— or TASTE and SMELL words (examples: “That idea stinks” or “That’s just sour grapes.”)
The idea here is to communicate with someone using their own preferred sensory interpretation of the world, reflected in their language. Match their sense predicates! Again, it connects you to them and conveys an understanding of their world and their experience. “I am like you! I understand you!” Rapport!
Here’s a wonderful tidbit about rapport skills. When you practice them sufficiently, they become automatic. At that point, you no longer are consciously trying to match someone physically or verbally, you just do. And you feel the positive connection, as well. You notice that people are responding to you more favorably, be it loved ones or friends or business acquaintances. Go for it!
Find out more about NLP here : http://www.mindworkshypnosis.net (the clinical work side of what we do as Neuro-Linguistic Hypnotherapists ®) and here: http://www.seattlenlptraining.com (the career school side of what we do as Licensed Trainers of NLP ®).
All the Best,
Connie & Michael