Throughout our daily lives, we are constantly reminded of the importance of how we interact and bond with people. How we establish bonds among our friends, family members, partners, coworkers and clients determine how our relationships with them as time progresses, but frankly, establishing a strong, healthy bond is one of the toughest skills to master. We all know how to speak or communicate our thoughts to someone but where some may lack is in finding balance between talking, listening and actively engaging in the conversation and relationship. Having a genuinely engaging relationship is crucial to establishing steady rapport. The parties involved must be interested in what is being said or offered and there has to be a mutual understanding between each other. Establishing rapport is a two way street, as both parties want to be understood and have their concerns heard. If the communication is one-sided, there will be no progression in the relationship.
What is Rapport?
So what exactly is rapport and why is it so important to have? Rapport is the essence of a successful communication and the ability to make someone else feel understood, to form a powerful bond and a relationship of responsiveness. In the coaching industry it is described as the ability to enter someone’s world and to tap into the valuable resource that is people’s emotions.
One may think to themselves that this is an easy skill to master. However, if this skill is so easy to obtain or learn, there would not be any communication conflicts in our relationships. Mind you, relationships are not always referring to romantic partners. It can be with our family, friends, coworkers and our clients. From the business aspect, the goal is essentially to maintain and increase our sales. But we cannot accomplish this if we are not engaging with the customers. If the business cannot maintain a steady clientele or increase it, then it is time to consider where the business is lacking. Perhaps it is the product? Are the services meeting clients expectations? Are you advertising and selling to the appropriate customers? There are many different aspects to a business that go into play and even the slightest issue in one or more of these areas can make or break a business. The staff must be trained to be able to accommodate and establish mutual understanding with the client, as well as be able to think outside of the box. There is nothing more frustrating to a potential customer than someone trying to sell you a product with limited communication skills and insufficient problem solving. Clients should feel that they are being understood. That your business is looking out for their best interest and genuinely wants to improve some aspect of their life. If they feel that they are being pressured into buying the product, that the product doesn’t seem to be what they need, or simply that their concerns are not being addressed and eased, then it is time to start correcting these issues.
If I have yet to convince you of the importance of rapport, let’s take a look at day to day services that we experience personally. If you have or had a good teacher, then you would understand the importance of a teacher using the most effective strategies to educate and engage their students so that they can effectively and confidently learn the material and have fun in the process. Another scenario: when going to a doctor’s appointment or any sort of medical consultation, it is unsettling to have a doctor who is not understanding the patient’s concerns. You tell them you have a hint of a rash that is concerning you? They try to convince you that it is probably nothing and that you should instead consider this medication that does not really address your concerns. Not a great position to be in and it is unlikely that you would return to this doctor. The bottom line is when there is active, engaged and mutual understanding between the client and business, both parties are happy and the clientele is more likely to recommend the service to others and return themselves.
HOW TO CREATE RAPPORT?
It helps to take into consideration how they communicate. Are they visual, auditory or kinesthetic communicators? Understanding how someone communicates will allow you to communicate better with them, as well as have a better understanding of them. For example, a person who is very visual might communicate using words such as “This is how it looks to me” or “What I am seeing is ..” “In light of..” They can also tend to be fast speakers. The auditory communicator might use words such as “I hear you loud and clear” or “the problem is screaming at me.” You may want to take into consideration the tone of your voice, make sure it’s not too loud and your verbiage should have a smooth clear meaning. Making it appealing to their ears. Lastly we have the kinesthetic type. They are all about energy, showing feelings with their words. Such as “ this thing is weighing on me” or “I am absolutely immersed in this project.” Essentially, they tend to pick up on the “vibe” that is being given off and then make a decision based on how they feel about the situation.
Moral of the story is to really pay attention to the words or mannerisms that an individual uses while communicating. It can really make a difference and improve your communication and understanding of each other. Even the smallest of changes can have a significant impact. For instance, just the slight change in tone or pitch, perhaps using different words to describe something, altering your physiology or body language. These changes can really go a long way in establishing better rapport in your relationships.
Silvia Duran / August 17, 2020