Good Rapport is Essential to Create Good Relationships - NLP in Action
What is Rapport?
The dictionary defines rapport as: “a good empathetic relationship between people who understand each other’s emotions and ideas by using good communication skills”. In other words, a close, respectful, comfortable relationship in which people who trust each other can see what you mean, empathise with you, are tuned into the same wavelength and are engaged well enough to hear what you are saying. People with good rapport will find conversation effortless and it will flow between them naturally.
Bad Rapport Should be Avoided at All Cost
Just thinking about this now, how did that or would that make you feel? Uncomfortable? Dis-engaged? Unsettled? Bored? Embarrassed? Wanting to escape? It is usually not a great experience and leaves a very bad first impression. Let’s face it, you only have one chance at a first impression so, make it a good one if you can.
Creating Good Rapport Means Relationships Progress Better
It is also very good to make eye contact both while building rapport and during a conversation. If you are looking around the room while someone you are talking with is in front of you they are going to feel de-valued and that you are not interested in them. However, while keeping eye contact, if you notice someone becoming slightly uncomfortable, in their body language, facial expressions or tone of voice, look away for a moment and then turn back smiling, nodding and agreeing.
Example of Good Rapport in Action
As an example or good rapport, I was sat next to Ollie Smith the wine expert around a dinner table at a wine and food evening he was hosting. Ollie is a well-known public figure with great rapport building skills. As he sat down, he introduced himself and asked my name. Using my name immediately he stated, “Ah well Kevin, I’m sorry but, it looks like your stuck with me for the evening.” We laughed and he continued, “So what do you do?”. I gave a quick summary reply and then responded, “I honestly thank you for your interest, Ollie. However, it would be far more interesting for everyone at the table if you could expand a bit on what you do?”
The conversation continued to go well. I and everyone else there had an interest in wine and food so, we talked about it for a good hour with occasional wit and a few laughs thrown in. Then he apologised politely and explained he had to move around the tables to make sure everyone got some of his company, just like a good host does.
The Introduction, Remembering and Using Their Name is Crucial
Dale Carnegie and a host of other authors would agree introducing yourself to a stranger and then asking who they are and perhaps what they do is crucial to good rapport. However, it is also good to use their name immediately and repetitively when you first meet means you are more likely to remember it. Someone’s name is the most important name on earth to that person. Looking them in the face as they tell you their name and remembering it is really important. Have you ever had a situation where you met someone new or even someone you know should know your name and they keep on forgetting it? How did that or would that make you feel? Having considered it you can understand how important this is to creating good rapport.
Miller, P. (2008) The Really Good Fun Cartoon Book of NLP Crown House Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Kitchen J (2017) The Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy & NLP: Internationally Accredited Kindle Edition
Centre of Excellence (2023) NLP Master Practitioner Course – Module 3 Part 1