Establishing rapport is so much more than simply establishing a business connection. Our ability to really connect with the people in our life is so important. For many years, I would look for things that I had in common with someone to establish rapport. This was a chunking up process. I would start with more detailed items and work my way up to things that were rather vague such as broad interests. I am so grateful for Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and the ability to establish strong rapport quickly.
What is rapport? The ability to relate to others in a way that creates connection and understanding. Building rapport is possible by pacing and understanding the framework that communication is 7% words, 38% tonality and 55% physiology. Rapport is established by matching or mirroring someone using physiology, tonality, and words.
I was introduced to rapport approximately five years ago when I went to see Tony Robbins. I adapted some of the learnings such as modeling and sensory acuity even though my understanding was limited. Eventually, I became certified in NLP and it changed my life. When I certified I was still working in a dual diagnosis addiction treatment facility as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner. Because of my personal recovery, I had the ability to develop rapport with many clients. However, there were people that were emotionally shut down and the connection was very limited.
One client in particular will always stand out to me. He was struggling with mental health issues and refused to make eye contact. It was difficult to get a full assessment because he was not open to speaking. The client sat across the desk from me leaning over and staring at the ground. Of course, I couldn't match his posturing, so I began to mirror his blinking. After a few minutes, he began to speak, and I matched his tonality and word chunks.
Matching was my way of showing I accepted this client where was by meeting him in his model of the world. It was not long before told me “I feel like you understand me” and I was able to help him. This would not have been possible without quickly building rapport.
How important is establishing rapport to gain a connection with people suffering from substance use disorders and mental health concerns? It can be the difference between life and death. Connecting with people in our life is extremely valuable under many different circumstances. Whether I am trying to enroll my son into something positive in his life or a new client into a possibility that serves their vision, rapport creates the space for a life changing shift. Rapport works on the unconscious level letting someone know I understand and see them.
I often teach rapport in my business seminars or during coaching with entrepreneurs. Rapport is never meant to be manipulation and should only be used in the context of a win-win business relationship.
Imagine the possibility we can open up for people with a deeper connection and a commitment to be of service.