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How to Build Social Rapport

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Updated July 08, 2012

Social rapport is the art of building a sense of trust and respect with another person. Although some people are intuitively good at building social rapport, it is a skill that can be developed. When you have rapport with someone, you feel a connection and understanding; a feeling of being on the same page. Having common interests with another person makes it easier to develop rapport, however very different people can also form a bond.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. When building rapport, it is important to follow the conventions of good social behavior. Introduce yourself, make good eye contact, give compliments, and learn the art of small talk. Each of these skills will help to develop trust between you and another person.
  2. Rapport is about making the other person feel comfortable. One way to do this is by mirroring or matching your body language to the other person. When mirroring, behave like a mirror image of the other person. If she crosses her left leg, cross your right. When matching, copy the other person's behavior exactly. If she leans to the left, also lean to the left. When mirroring or matching, always delay your actions by 3 to 5 seconds so the behavior doesn't look like mimicry. Moving your body in these ways makes the other person feel more comfortable.
  3. Listen to the words and phrases that the other person uses. If he has favorite sayings, incorporate them into your own speech in a natural way.
  4. Disclose something personal about yourself. Sharing something personal is another way of creating a bond with the other person, and makes it more likely that he will share something personal with you.
  5. Ask questions about the other person and listen carefully to the answers. Ask follow-up questions that show you were listening and that you are interested in the details of what he said.
  6. Learn how the other person likes to digest information; does she like the big picture or the fine details? Adjust your conversation style accordingly so that you deliver your message in a way that is compatible with what she likes to hear.

Tips:

  1. Be approachable to others; have a friendly, easygoing and positive attitude.
  2. Use the other person's name often in conversation.
  3. Observe others who build rapport easily and copy their behaviors.
  4. When mirroring, matching, or incorporating phrases another person uses, do so carefully. Overusing these techniques could make the other person feel uncomfortable.

What You Need

  • Someone to build rapport with.

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