Creating rapport with others builds relationships and increases the meaningfulness of information shared between you and them. In short, it improves the quality and value of interaction with others.
I’ve been fascinated by how one can build rapport with others ever since I successfully interviewed Japanese participants through a translator in a mobile research study in the early 90’s. They said it couldn’t be done.
Here’s 5 quick things you can do to build rapport with others, whether it is your colleagues day to day, anew client or in interview participant!
1. Open with joy and gratitude
When others meet you for the first time, do they feel someone with positive energy? And do they know that you appreciate their time? When you meet, get your positive energy on and thank the other person for making time, being with you and sharing their talents!
2. Be a great host
Pay attention to things that make your “guest” more comfortable. Would they like a glass of water? Give them the most comfortable chair. Get their permission for things you might need to do. A great host is always paying attention to the guest’s experience.
3. Engage with interest and empathy
Are you genuinely interested in being with this person? Are you curious about them and their lived experience? You have to be! Ask questions that allow them to share their interests and stories. Feel the emotions their stories alight in you and share that with them. People connect with others who genuinely listen to them.
4. Look for a way to provide value
How can you give the other person something that is valuable to them? Something they will have after your encounter. It could simply be a thoughtful thank you note. Or a Spotify playlist or a book. A great approach is to try and connect them with someone in your network that theey could benefit from. Sometimes a real gift like a gift card or locally made product can fit the bill.
Providing meaningful value is a great way to stand out.
5. Conclude with relationship
Offer your contact details. Ask if they would be open to getting together again or connecting if something comes up. If appropriate hug it out! Let them know what you’ll follow up with and then do it. Cementing your relationship as you conclude creates a longer term bond.
So how do you do these well? First, try to memorize them. Write them down in a list with your own title. Then, before a meeting, interview or event, focus on doing one or two during the experience.
If you think about them as both a mindset and behaviors, you will be able to practice them and get better over time. So think about them as a practice, like playing the piano or doing a sport.
You will get better and better and building rapport with others. That will lead to deeper, more meaningful relationships as well as new professional opportunities.