Chapter 13: The Magic of Rapport

The friend who understands you, creates you.“ —Romain Rolland

Rapport is crucial to successful communication. Through it, we can enter somebody’s world, form a bond, and feel as if we understand each other. Some are born with this skill, and others can learn it.

It is said that opposites attract. It is true that to build rapport, we need similarities. Differences can be set aside only if most of our ideas, interests, beliefs, and habits are in common.

We can create rapport by creating and discovering things we have in common through the process of mirroring. Here it is important to mention that communication between people is transmitted mainly through body language. Our communication is accomplished 7% through words, 38% through tone of voice, and 55% through body language (facial expressions, gestures).

So the most powerful part of communication is not words but body language. We must keep this in mind when mirroring people.

Everyone uses all three representational systems. No one is only visual, or auditory, or kinesthetic, but most of us do have one dominant system. It is much easier to develop rapport when we know someone’s primary representational system. People from each group use some phrases more than others and their way of speaking is different.

Visuals use phrases such as, “This is how it looks to me,” or “I just can’t picture myself doing that.” They speak fast and breathe high in their chest. Their tone of voice is high-pitched and nasal.

Auditory people speak in a more modulated and balanced manner. They often use expressions like, “It sounds good to me.”

Kinesthetic people speak slowly and pause between words. They like using phrases such as, “It doesn’t feel right,” or “I’m just not in touch with things.”

When we mirror everything about another person, it is as if he/she has found his/her soulmate. We do not have to have mirror everything to create rapport and make a bond. We can start with mirroring another person’s tone of voice, some gestures, and using similar expressions.

For many people, the process of mirroring looks unnatural and manipulative. But in fact, when we build rapport with someone we already do it unconsciously. Now we have a tool to do it intentionally.

Once rapport is developed through mirroring, we can start gradually changing our posture, gestures, and way of speaking. If the bond is made, the person will unconsciously follow us, and we can lead the conversation. This tactic is very often used by salesmen.

Actions to take