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RAB Research Archive

What is rapport?



Rapport creates the space for the person to feel listened to, and heard, which doesn't necessarily mean they have to agree with what you say or do. You can appreciate each other's viewpoint.

The key to establishing rapport is an ability to enter another person's world by assuming a similar state of mind. The first thing to do is to become more like the other person by matching and mirroring the person's unconscious behaviors -- body language, voice, words, etc. Matching and mirroring is a powerful way of gaining an appreciation of how the other person is seeing/feeling/experiencing their world.

The simplest way to help build rapport is to match the micro-behaviors of those you wish to influence. Any observable behavior can be mirrored, for example:

* Body posture
* Spinal alignment
* Hand gestures
* Head tilt
* Blink rate
* Facial expression
* Energy level
* Breathing rate
* Vocal qualities (volume, tonality, and rhythm)
* Key phrases and words
* Anything else that you can observe...

At first, this may seem a little strange or uncomfortable for you as a salesperson; though I assure you, with a little practice you'll become natural and proficient at it in a short period of time. And remember this: The basis of rapport is a natural process, which is happening already within any interaction between two or more individuals. You are simply duplicating the process on a 'conscious' level with purpose and volition.

You may wish to start with family members by beginning to match different aspects of their posture, gestures, voice, and words. Have fun with it and see if they notice what you are doing. At work or socially, start by matching one specific behavior and once you are comfortable then match another. For friends with whom you really feel comfortable, notice how often you naturally match their postures, gestures, and tone of voice or words.

Matching comes naturally. You need to learn how to do it with everyone. Matching will then eventually become automatic.

Source: Sales speaker/author John Santangelo





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