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Today I’m going to talk about rapport, and rapport really falls under two of the five to thrive. That’s your relationships and your business. Now, it actually will sprinkle all over the place, but let’s talk about why rapport is important. First of all, rapport is really the ability to establish a connection with somebody else, the ability to establish that connection where they feel like you actually get them, you understand them, and you are like that person.

Now, rapport has some negative connotations, because it’s an NLP tactic, so it’s neuro-linguistic programming tactic, that’s often used by salespeople to get you to buy things, so what they’re trying to do is get you down that know-like-trust factor. So when they feel like you know them, you can relate to them, and you have rapport, it’s easier for them to sell you things. But there are other ways to establish rapport. Now, there are reasons to do that. Whenever you want to influence somebody, whether it be an employee, coworker, a family member, child, establishing rapport during the conversation is critical, because it allows the other person to lower their defenses and better receive your message.

With rapport, the most common problem is, most people try to use rapport with their words, but communication’s really only 7% of what you’re saying the words. 38% of it’s your tonality. Think about that. 7% words, 30% tonality. So said another way, 7% of the words that come out of your mouth actually establish rapport or just communication in general. It’s the way that you say them, and you know this. If you have any teenagers or been around a teenager, you know they could say, “Thank you,” and you know that that’s, big difference between, “Geez, thank you.” That’s a heartfelt message, or when someone apologizes to you, you know, based on their tonality and their gestures, whether they’re sincere or not. So the other 55% is physiology, the way that you hold yourself, so rapport can have a lot of aspects to that.

So when people are talking to each other, how do they like each other, and how do you use rapport? Well, the first step to rapport is matching and mirroring, so what do I mean by that? Well, if you’re talking to someone and they fold their arms, a good way to establish rapport is, as you do it, just very casually fold your arms as well. And as you’re talking, if they’re nodding their head up and down, like it’s a “yes” gesture, you can do the same as if you’re listening to them. Over the course of time, generally, they’ll subconsciously think, “This person gets me.” They won’t know why unless you’re doing it very obviously, but they’ll subtly know, “Hey, this person understands me. They have the same gestures.” Now, hands in pockets, two folded hands, is a very common one.

The way you stand, leaning on one leg versus the other. Now, you can mirror the person you’re talking to, so in this instance, I’m going to take the spotlight on business. If I’m talking to one of my staff, and we’re having … Maybe we’re talking, I’m trying to motivate them on why we’re moving from one product to another, and they don’t really like change. As I’m talking to them, if I notice they put their hands in a pocket, I’ll continue the conversation and put my hands in my pocket as we’re talking. If they start to nod their head, I’ll do the same. Now, after a while, I will control the rapport, control the mirroring, and then they’ll start to mimic whatever I do, and this is how I know I have them in a state of rapport. Now, it gets a little bit more advanced than this as you practice it, but there’s really nothing wrong. It’s minor manipulation, but manipulation for a positive appeal or a positive effect.

I’m not trying to change them. I’m trying to get them to understand and lower their defense mechanisms so we can have an honest relationship conversation here. So what’s the most important thing? Well, we talked about physiology being 55% of the conversation. That’s the biggest thing, is posture, in a rapport situation. So what is your posture? Are you standing up straight, shoulders back, head uplifted? How are you holding yourself? Now, more importantly, how is the other person holding themselves? If they’re slumped down, kind of depressed, but you’re standing up nice and straight, chest out, feeling great, as I am right now, well, it’s going to be hard to establish rapport, because you’re not getting them. They’re down in the dumps, but if you lower yourself, just for a second, and then help them bring back up.

Because again, by lowering myself and coming and meeting them where they are, I can establish that rapport, and remember, as I start to stand up, my tonality starts to change, they will mimic it. They’ll get fired up. They’ll be pumped. They’ll see what the barrier was. Something might just be holding them back, kind of that dark cloud under them, so posture’s great. Another one is a gesture. Gesture’s really important. What gestures are they making, or facial expressions and blinking? You see someone doing excessive blinking, or maybe someone doesn’t blink at all. Just noticing these little subtle cues, but also breathing. Are they diaphragmatically breathing, or is it a shallow breath? Those are things to take care of. Now tonality. Tone or pitch is very important, but also tempo. Now, I have a great friend named Warren. Now, he’s down in the South, and we talk very differently.

I’ll have a cup of coffee, and we’ll have a conversation, and I’m talking a mile a minute, whereas Warren’s got that more laid-back southern drawl, and so we talk very differently, though we have rapport because of other reasons. For me to be able to communicate with Warren in a way that has a positive impact, if I was trying just to gain rapport, I would slow down my speech and meet his. Now, Warren’s extremely intelligent, so Warren, on the other hand, talking to me, if he’s trying to get a point across, he would speed it up. Nothing wrong with that. Now, Warren and I have an excellent rapport, so this isn’t an issue, but when I’m trying to make rapport, this is extremely important. Now, also, kind of the quality of my speech or the volume. How loud am I being, versus how soft?

If you’ve ever tried to speak to someone who’s extremely soft-spoken and you’re loud, you can feel that abrasiveness that they’re feeling coming back, or vice-versa. If you’re soft-spoken and somebody comes up to you in a very loud and boisterous voice, you feel like, “Whoa, hold on,” and you feel that soft person, if you’re the loud person, is maybe too meek. It doesn’t matter. Just meet them on their own terms, and then words. Again, we said words are 7%, but are they using predicates, what are the key words that they’re using? Are they talking about how they feel, or are they talking about what they think? Those are two different things. “I feel that we should be doing this,” or, “I think that we should be doing this.” One person is leading from emotion, and therefore to gain rapport, I’ll steer the conversation from an emotional standpoint.

“Yeah, my gut’s telling me we should.” That’s a feeling, but it’s also a physiological saying because I’m actually pointing to my gut. But if I say, “Hey, I think we should do this,” I’m really talking about a logical step here, so really listening to the words and how well you can mimic those words. What are those key words that they keep using? And the common expressions and associations are also positive, and then just looking at content chunks, so utilizing rapport really is just the first step to establishing basic communication in your relationships or in your business. Now, in relationships, if you get in a heated argument or something like that with a loved one, maybe it’s your spouse, establishing that rapport is really important, because they’re triggered, and trying to break down their walls is going to be very difficult, so the key is just to really do it. If they’re sitting down and you’re standing up, go ahead and take a seat. If they cross their leg, go ahead and cross your leg too.

Make sure you’re sitting across from them so you can see them and you’re mirroring their gestures. Don’t do it obviously. They’ll pick up on it, and it’ll look disingenuine, but if you’re coming from a genuine place of trying to help that person, there’s nothing wrong with using a little rapport to go ahead and push the envelope a little bit and get what both of you really want there.

That’s it for me today.

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