Study after study shows that people are more apt to trust and buy from people and companies they know and like more than those they don’t.
Many introverts, however, feel the same way about rapport-building that they do networking: uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because they think building rapport means being able to make “small talk” with others. Even the thought of it can make them anxious.
If that’s you, let me put your fears to rest. I’m here to unequivocally tell you that building rapport isn’t (or doesn’t have to be) talking about last night’s big game or lamenting tomorrow’s weather.
Extroverts, on the other hand, may feel like rapport-building is a no-brainer. Naturally gregarious, they may be comfortable chatting up just about anyone, anywhere.
But having the gift of gab isn’t the secret to building rapport either, especially if you’re the one doing most of the talking.
What is Building Rapport Really About? At its foundation, building rapport is about asking great questions and making a connection by reflecting you understand the other person’s perspective.
In a recent blog, 4 Steps to Being a Better Active Listener, I talked about how to ask thought-provoking questions and offered specific examples. This week, I’d like to explore how to respond to information the other person may have offered — what to say and what NOT to say.
How to Build RapportOne of the most important things to understand about how to build rapport is how NOT to break it. Too often, well-intentioned people do this inadvertently.
That’s why you want to take extreme care not to invalidate a customer’s or co-worker’s point of view by what you say or how you say it.
1) Acknowledge the other person’s point of view — don’t invalidate it.
- That’s not right.
- That’s not important.
- Don’t worry about it.
- You’re overreacting.
- But (which negates anything you may have said before the “But”)
Instead, acknowledge their perspective or feelings. You don’t have to agree with them. Just reflect that you understand how they may feel or see things.
- I can see why your past experiences influenced this decision.
- I never looked at it that way — I see your point.
- What you are saying put things in a new light.
2) Use appropriate enthusiasm, not pat responses or overly effusive language.
When your success depends on managing customer relationships or collaborating with colleagues, it can be tempting to try to win people over or soothe their concerns with encouraging words.
Be careful not to use overly cheerful or gushing language, which can come across as fake or patronizing.
- You’ll love it.
- It’ll be so much better this way.
- You can do it — no problem!
Instead, convey an appropriate level of enthusiasm.
- Only you can judge the best approach for your team.
- I’m glad that you want to move forward quickly.
3) Provide useful information — don’t make it a sales pitch or “ask.”
No one wants to feel like they’re being used or simply being sold to.
In the course of your interactions with customers or colleagues, be generous. Offer information that may be useful to them without expecting something in return.
Don’t use every pause in the conversation as an opportunity to sell. And don’t only offer help or information to a colleague when you need something from them.
- We can solve all of those issues for you.
- Buy our product and you won’t have to worry about that anymore.
- That’s why I was hoping you could [do this for me]…
- It’s interesting you say that; I just read about that same problem in the...
- I have some great ideas I can share with you.
Build Strong Relationships Without the Gift of GabIf you have the gift of gab but still struggle to build strong relationships with others, consider whether you may be inadvertently breaking rapport in various ways.
If you dislike having to make small talk or if you don’t have the gift of gab, you can still build rapport effectively.
Be interested in the other person, ask great questions, empathize with their perspective, and be generous in your responses.
Doing these things well is the key to being seen as a competent, credible, and trustworthy professional.
Go DeeperAnyone can learn to build rapport, as Founder Steve Mandel wrote. Rapport-building is a skill we've taught to hundreds of thousands of sales, IT, and line of business professionals who've taken our workshops, including the Influential Conversation™.
Curious to know more? Download the course overview here.
Under normal circumstances, staying present and being able to fully commit to listening is difficult. However, in this new reality of digital interaction and mental fatigue, listening has a new set of challenges.There’s good news. We can make listening easier in our virtual meetings, improving the experience of our participants! Here are a few tips.
Sales professionals need a mix of soft skills to be successful. While rapport building is often considered the top sales skill, listening is the most critical skill for closing sales, and building long-term client relationships.
Learn 3 crucial tips to closing sales, and why listening is the top sales skill of 2021.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Recognition. It makes you feel good. This week in the US, many will pause for a day or two to give thanks and show appreciation for the things and people we care about most. It’s no secret how appreciation benefits the person getting it—but did you know it benefits the person giving it just as much?
Discover why recognition is such a powerful tool for improving relationships and wellbeing in life—and at work. Learn how to (and how NOT to) express your appreciation to others.
People in communities across the globe are adjusting to communicating while wearing masks. As we’re all experiencing, masks present both verbal and non-verbal communication challenges.Given this, we’ve prepared 5 tips for effective communications while wearing a mask, and compiled several insightful articles from leading publications on additional best practices.
Mandel Communications, known globally for its presentation and conversations skills workshops, fills a major gap in the field of human communications training by announcing its new neuroscience-based, listening skills-building workshop, “The Listening Edge.”
This innovative training is bolstered with a validated, proprietary, science-based personal listening assessment that accelerates this learning and its application on the job.
It happened fast. One day you were meeting with your colleagues at the office. The next day you and everyone you work with are working in remote isolation from home. Whether you’re new to working remotely or an experienced veteran, we all need to raise our virtual collaboration game to not only make this new reality work, but to make it work really well. Read on to discover seven practical, high impact tactics you can implement right now to ensure the success of your virtual meetings.
With travel restrictions, reduced in-person meetings, and canceled events, many organizations have employees working from home. For remote team members interested in brushing up on virtual communication skills, we’ve put together a list of helpful articles.
Meetings are more effective when people aren’t distracted. If your team is being taken off course by unexpected emotions, empathy can help build the bridge between wasted time and productivity. Brad Holst shares three ways to increase meeting productivity with empathy in this week’s blog.
Learn how making a few smart, yet simple, changes to your email can improve your odds of quickly getting the response you need.
Read the blog and learn how to make your next team offsite your most productive yet.
- Leading a Virtual Team Means Doing Things Differently
- Are You Really Listening?
- 4 Listening Tips for Improving Your Virtual Meetings
- The Irresistible Power of Stories in Virtual Selling
- The Top Sales Skill for 2021!
- Top Virtual Communication Mistakes – and How to Overcome Them in 2021!
- Tell a Story. Close a Deal. Even on Zoom.
- Throwback: Why Appreciation Matters in Life and at Work
- Tips for Communicating Effectively While Wearing a Mask
- Five Tips From a Virtual Meeting Producer