Become a master of first impressions: how to build brilliant rapport
Updated: Jun 30
You can improve your rapport like you can any other skill… here are 5 tips to help.
I bet a particular person comes to your mind when you think of the word ‘charisma’.
That magnetic person who has that radiant, addictive charm and seems to ‘click’ with almost everyone. Because of this, they rarely enter a situation without leaving with an opportunity.
Basically, they know how to build brilliant rapport.
And is this an essential skill in business? Absolutely. It’s a foundation for success.
What is having great rapport with someone?
Research shows, having rapport is for both parties to be actively engaged, feeling positive and ‘in sync’ with each other when communicating. It’s particularly important at the start of a relationship, and once it’s there it can last for years.
Why is it so important?
It doesn't matter what industry you're in or what position you hold – having great rapport with your clients, and your team, can bring you countless opportunities.
After all, if someone likes you, they will usually want to help you and your business succeed because there is mutual trust.
Are you more likely to want to have another meeting with a consultant who shared your love of musical theatre? Of course. What about making the effort to connect an engaging entrepreneur with an investor who you enjoyed talking to about your recent trip to Italy? Absolutely.
Here are some tips to consider to help you build rapport:
5 tips to help you build brilliant rapport
1. Be curious
Most people love to talk about themselves. In fact, as Carnegie says, in conversation, the other person should be talking far more than you. So build instant rapport by asking thoughtful questions and actively listening to the answer.
This involves reflecting on the information the other person has said, using their own words, rather than just using that time to think about what you are saying next. Which is something we all can be guilty of.
Indeed, embarrassingly enough, on average our attention span is only 8 seconds.
Let’s overcome this average - listen actively and then you can use the information you have gleaned to find areas in common, a bedrock of rapport building.
2. Make eye contact
Numerous studies have found that using eye contact helps enhance a perception of recognition, honesty, openness, confidence and warmth. It speeds up the connection making process.
3. Use names
By simply using a person’s name in a conversation you can build rapport. As Dale Carnegie emphasises, remembering someone’s name conversation is core when learning How to Win Friends and Influence People.
He attests part of President Roosevelt's success to this simple tip, saying “remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”.
4. Be positive
You want to be an energy starter, not a drain. Build rapport by helping the person you are talking to feel uplifted. Offer genuine compliments which recognise and validate your conversation partner’s values.
5. Subtly mimic
As Dan Pink says in To Sell Is Human, subtle mimicry comes across as a form of flattery, the physical dance of rapport building itself. You can mimic body language, tone, pitch, and type of language you use.
In a recent meeting we had with a new lead, I noticed my manager Augusta subtly mimicking a prospect’s body language and energetic tone. When he had his hands on the table, so did she, and when he sat back into his chair, she did the same a few seconds later.
The mimicking helped create a comfortable atmosphere in the room where rapport flourished. Since, this lead is now an important client.
Give these tips a try and if you would like any further advice on building rapport, please get in touch with the team.