I was reminded just recently about how deep and powerfully you can build rapport naturally. This is a really good demonstration of how you can pace and lead someone without them ever realising.
Natural Rapport Building
To round this off there are six points that are worth considering when rapport building in a persuasion context.
Rapport Building Trances
The other day I had been out for a walk and was just coming back into the building when I bumped into Mary. I have known Mary for a long time and we normally have quite good rapport, always saying hello, stopping for a chat and having a general laugh with each other.
On this particular day my head was full of all sorts of things and I was distracted. An internal trance if you like, where I wasn’t particularly focused on what was happening around me. Sort of like a daydream state. Mary was stood in front of the lift with a couple of big boxes in her hands.
As we waited for the lift Mary opened the conversation and I was replying in a distracted way. The first I knew that I was matching Mary’s body language was when she placed the two large boxes in my hands and started thanking me for taking them up to the top floor for her.
It was then that I woke from my rapport trance and realise that I had a complete conversation without remembering any of it, as well as somehow managing to offer to take these boxes for Mary. Now take this the right way I would have been happy to help if Mary had asked. The issue is I had no recollection of what had happened from when I walked into the building to when Mary give me the boxes.
To the best of my knowledge Mary has not done any NLP training and knows nothing about rapport on this level. She just does it naturally.
So What Really Went On?
When I asked what we had just talked about Mary looked at me a little confused and told me she had said hello and we were both grumbling about the weather. When I asked about the boxes she said I’d put my arms out and she just knew that I was offering to take them up to the top floor. This was a very powerful pace and lead. She got me to put my arms out. Put the boxes into my hand and presupposed I would take them for her.
Why Focus on Rapport?
If rapport is naturally occurring why do we in persuasion skills and NLP circles focus on it so much?
The reality is that this level of rapport doesn’t often happen except with a few select people and in occasional circumstances. What would your life be like if you could have this level of rapport with anyone you choose, whenever you choose?
Here are some of the things you might want to consider about how to get rapport and use it at a persuasion skill.
- Rapport is easier with people you already have rapport with. Mary and I already have good rapport and that made it easy to get to this level. Obviously it is easy to get a deeper level of rapport with people that you already like or have had good rapport with in the past. One way of simulating this with a complete stranger is to imagine that they are someone that you really like or get on with. Perhaps like a long lost friend you haven’t seen for years.
- Having no agenda. Often I find that it is very difficult to build rapport with people I don’t like. This is because I already have an agenda. In this case Mary started out with no agenda, she was expecting to take the boxes at the top floor herself. If she put her agenda first i.e. the boxes she would not have been able to build rapport in the way that she had. If you are thinking of a persuasion process then before you start you should have an outcome but when you meet the other person put the outcome aside so that you can focus on the other person and build rapport first.
- Matching and mirroring are rapport indicators not rapport makers. There is no way Mary could match my body language, she was carrying boxes and I wasn’t. I noticed my body language matching Mary’s when she put the boxes into my hands. If Mary had focused on trying to match a mirror me she would have looked clumsy and stupid that would not have created the same result. If she had been on a good NLP Training Course she would have noticed the level of rapport when I started to match her body language.
- Find commonality. We were both talking about the weather and we were both agreeing with each other. As a rough rule of thumb finding common agreement builds rapport. Think about this logically for a moment and consider all the people that you have good rapport with. You will notice that you have lots of shared common ground. There are ways of eliciting people’s deep values and you can use this as a very powerful rapport builder. You can find out more about this in the Advanced Persuasion Patterns Programme.
- Lead rather than pace. In any persuasion context you are better at getting people to build rapport with you rather than you build rapport with them. You’ll notice in this circumstance Mary was leading the whole way. And when she spotted I was stood there like a lemon with my arms out she seized the opportunity to give me the boxes completely leading me to her objectives
- Bind to things they were doing anyway. If I were not getting into the lift I might have objected. But I was going up to the top floor anyway. It is much more difficult to say no if you were going that way anyway. As a persuasion process find what people want and give it to them as part of getting your result. In short a Win / Win situation will get you further in the long run.
Discover the Process of Rapporting
The truth of the matter is that it is easy to build this level of rapport. All you need to recognise is that rapport is a process not a thing. Once you can deconstruct rapport into a step-by-step process all you have to do is go through the process with anyone that you meet. In the Advanced Persuasion Patterns program we will discuss several different approaches to rapport and how you can develop a process that works for you to create instantaneous deep levels of rapport. Of course we discuss much more than just rapport on the comprehensive course on hypnotic persuasion skills.