In last month’s issue, we have established that rapport isn’t just a game of mimicry and requires a lot more than just copying unconscious body movements. The human brain is often accused of being a sophisticated brain and in this case, it holds true because mimicry is easily spotted, becomes consciously annoying, and this automatically breaks rapport. Simple tricks like these can also backfire when the other person is in a negative state – Anger, sadness, fear, etc. When you only match and mirror this way, nobody is getting closer to a positive outcome. It’s an automatic lose-lose.
Mind & Body Are One
In NLP, we apply a presupposition called, ‘Mind and Body are One’. This means that whatever we think, our body reflects and this explains why despite all your rapport tricks, it sometimes fails to work. For example, when you communicate with a client or colleague, and you are already anxious that they would reject whatever you have to say – Your body projects your fear. In other words, your internal state will be reflected through your physiology, language, and voice tonality. All they see is you sweating, stuttering, and squeaking – clearly not the picture of confidence. Would blame them for being ‘resistant’? It’s a logical response to your state of anxiousness, which they recognized first and then copied.
Start with Self
It’s important to understand that managing your emotional state is key and also the starting point for creating rapport with others because rapport starts with you. Awareness of your emotional state is really the first step because not only is resisting or denying you have emotions unhelpful, when you think about it, it actually puts you into a negative state. And the more you resist it, the more effort you put into strengthening that negative resistance. Forcing yourself to feel positive when you’re really not sends mixed signals and it shows through our non-verbal cues. But once you know where you are emotionally, it’s much easier to take steps towards the state you would like to be in instead.
So before you start building rapport, think about a state that is useful to be in, for example being confident and calm. When you have an image of what that is for you; observe how you are standing, moving, and walking differently, while visualizing this confident and calm image of yourself. Also, listen closely to how well you are speaking – The quality of your voice, the pace, and volume. Pay attention to the sensations inside you – The location, intensity, and notice if the sensation has a movement to it and if yes, amplify it so it feels stronger. As you become aware of how it starts to feel, imagine a circle on the floor and step into it the moment you feel that good energy rising up through you. Do this simple technique and notice how much better you’ve performed. The great thing about this is that you can carry this ‘circle of confidence’ anywhere you like and no one will ever know how you can suddenly switch on the confidence so effortlessly.
I’d like to end with something to reflect on. While building rapport may sometimes require you to stretch yourself, it’s always good to remember that rapport is about connecting with others for the purpose of two-way communication, not forcing obedience. Authenticity is important in building rapport because if you’re just running through the motions, it becomes obvious you’re being deceptive.
In business and subsequently in our daily interactions, we often forget that it’s not always about us, or about winning all the time. Always taking lead, or commanding the direction or result of the conversation isn’t the only way to get agreement because agreement does not equate to having rapport. Truthfully, it’s a little childish to think that you will always get agreement from everyone. It’s okay to not get the sale now. It’s okay not to always get a ‘yes’ when you want it because ultimately what is more important is that the person trusts you, listens with an open mind, and respects you. In the end, building long lasting relationships is what real businesses are all about, isn’t it?
For other useful tips and other life changing ideas, please read our other blogs and learn the #AuthenticNLP™ with NaviGo® NLP Center.