How to build strong rapport with people.

Updated: May 15

Only 7% of communication comes from the words we use. Yet what do we focus on most when we are trying to build rapport with someone?


The questions we ask.


Tony Robbins in this video explains why, by doing that, we are missing a big part of the picture.


Rapport is actually created by a feeling of commonality.

On that matter, words can only take us so far.


Wether conscious or unconscious, wether right or wrong, we “trust assess” people in a matter of seconds judging on their tone of voice, their volume, their body language (posture, gestures, …) , by their facial expressions, their eye contact, how close or far they are standing from us, to which angle, how and where they are touching us (hand shake, tap on shoulders …), even breathing pattern*!


In order to create powerful rapport we need to match someone at as many of those variables as possible, including the words they use. Tony presents the technique of Mirroring which is pretty self explanatory.


He gave a few examples of how matching someone’s tone of voice can help build rapport.

Same for body language and mannerisms. Even matching a simple handshake or reciprocating a tap on the shoulder can go long ways.


What we need to do is develop our sensory acuity to be able to read people’ sub communication, be aware of ours, be aware of the impact we are having and of course have the skills to enact the situation in the way we aim.


In order to practice this, Tony proposes two exercises I would suggest doing at least 5 times:

1) Go out and mirror someone for 5 min to 10 min. They don’t need to know about it.

Sit safely close to them at an angle, be discrete and just do it.

Tony anticipates that after 10 minutes, they will be in synch with you and mirror you back without knowing it.


2) Make Love for an hour and half and breathe* in unison with your partner for the entire time together.

*“If you breathe at the exact same pace of another person, you will be able to feel what they are feeling. Breathing is very powerful. Try and match someone’s breathing pattern and you’ll see how powerful it is.” Tony Robbins.


I’d like to leave on a personal note. Based on my experience, I also believe we can build rapport by creating a feeling of complementarity, i.e.: By offering complementary behaviors to those we want to build rapport with. For example, someone who is screaming hard because they are angry can be calmed down by someone who simply sits there acknowledging their emotions and listening to them. That builds rapport. So it is not necessary to do the same thing they are doing but something that meets them where they are in a compatible way. Sometimes that looks like the complete opposite.


Now go into the field and enjoy the learning process!



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© 2019 by Elie Dagher.