Are You Connected?

by Frank

Build Rapport

Photo by Ilco

Before I jump into this post I wanted to share with you all that A Spark Starts has passed a milestone. This is the 100th post. I am excited that we have made it this far and am extremely optimistic about what there is to come.

On Monday I opened up this weeks theme by providing 3 of my favorite tips for starting a conversation. There are so many more to share but just not enough time to do it. Tuesday Jermaine followed up with a discussion about open ended and closed ended questions. Today I want to share with you one of the most important tips in effective communication.

RAPPORT

In order to hold a pertinent conversation there are a few prerequisites that you must be aware of. The first and most important to me is rapport. Now before I go on my 3 page rant let me first define what it is. Rapport is a strong connection that generates trust, openness, and agreement in a conversation. It is the spark you feel when you talk to someone you really like and feel like you could go on talking to them forever. Rapport is the connection you have with your best friend that you text and call all day long.

THE LACK OF CONNECTION

In order for you to have a good conversation with anyone there has to be a connection. Not just any connection but a strong enough connection that will keep the person invested in what you have to say. If not the results could be disastrous. It would be like french kissing a person with your eyes closed and then finding out it was your relative, awkward. You would be wasting both of your time. Don’t let this happen to you. Learn from my many,  many, many mistakes in communication. 🙂

BUILD RAPPORT

The best way to maintain some one’s attention, after the opening of a conversation, is to build rapport immediately. There are so many options to chose from but let me start with the basics. Here is what works for me.

  • Humor

There is no better way, to me, to build rapport with someone than making them laugh. There is a funny thing that happens when you make people laugh, they smile. It comes naturally. I won’t bore you with statistics but when people smile their stress level decrease dramatically. Not only do they smile but they will continue to listen to you because they want to know what you will say next.

 Now this tip only works if you are funny. If you tell a bad joke you can make people uncomfortable and there you are again french kissing a relative, awkward.

  • Tone

Have you ever been to McDonald’s and had the cashier ask you, can I help you like they really, really, don’t want to? If you walk up to a person you want to communicate with never use a tone of voice that is aggressive or lackadaisical. Your tone conveys a message even if the person doesn’t hear a word you say.

  • Relate

If during your conversation they mention something you have in common or have experienced please share your story. Now be careful with this. Notice I said share your story. Never give advice unless it is requested of you or you ask permission to share a tip. The more you have in common the better. This requires an others first mentality and an active ear which are both important in being a good conversationalist.

  • Actively Listen

I know this seems pretty basic but you will not believe how often this is overlooked in our conversations. So many times during our interactions with others we are so focused on making a good impression that we are planning our next statement while the other person is talking.

We usually hear about the first three words that comes out of the other persons mouth and are ready to jump right back in and add our 2 1/2 cents. The easiest way to build rapport once the conversation is started is to listen. Listen to every word the other person says before you start speaking. Ask and open ended question and forgive me for being so harsh, Shut Up! 🙂

I promise you if you use these steps you will become a master at building rapport with people instantly. This step is still just covering the opening of the conversation.

We have got their attention by starting a conversation, asking them an open ended question, and now we know how to build rapport. I have about 6 more pages of notes but about 6 more minutes worth of energy. So I will close with a question. These were some of my basic techniques for building rapport.

How do you build rapport during your interactions?

For further information about communication, click the link below.

Communication Techniques