Written by Dave Gannaway
One well kept secret of successful and highly motivated people is rapport. How do they seem to get everyone to do exactly what they want when ever they want it? Can you actually influence people to like you? As I have already expressed elsewhere, many successful entrepreneurs hold their secrets close to their chest, or at best, withhold the finer details altogether. An even greater numbers, incredibly, just do not know what they do to gain rapport or how they do it! They just do it automatically, and it is that vital information that we search for.
The importance of building a bond can make the difference between success and failure; it can be life changing for you and/or your business. It can create harmony where there was chaos and attract greater volumes of customers where customers were lacking. It can transform mutinous ship into a happy and harmonious one.
Rapport is an effective tool professional’s use in all areas of business from sales and marketing to motivating employees. Also many other situations where you need to overcome resistance or break down hostilities. Over 80% of the objective of achieving a harmonious and motivated workforce and customer base depends upon them ‘liking’ you. That means the leaders must have rapport skills and be able to utilize these psychological idiosyncrasies them in our lives.
Success is built on relationships, both with employees and customers although both have different techniques of building rapport. IBM, McDonald’s and many others have created their success on reliable strategies that create sound customer relationships. A different rapport program is used for employees but of course both are of equal importance, only the motive is different.
When talking with anyone you want to build a relationship with, give them 101% of your attention and genuinely care about them when you speak. Make and keep eye contact. Even the hardest nut to crack will respond when you talk to him with genuine caring and look directly into his eyes. Feel their hurt if they are hurting, share their joy if they are happy. Reflect back to them the same energy they are emitting.
That is the secret of rapport right there; mirror the other person behavior as much as you can. Stand or sit in the same posture. Hold you head at the same angle, hold your shoulders the same, do the same things with your hands. Even notice the persons breathing pattern and mirror that. Mirror the tone of their voice, the speed at which they speak. The more you do this the greater rapport you will achieve. You may feel that you are playing games with them to begin with, but don’t worry they will not realize what you are doing. They never do.
If your object is to motivate your employees, dressing like them is a very powerful motivational tool. If they are wearing coveralls, any you arrive wearing the same it will have a very positive effect. Think of how they would feel if they were all working on the shop floor in coveralls and you arrived searing a Gucci suite!
If an employee comes into your office with a complaint or disagreement, first thing to remember is to keep your cool. Ask him what troubles him … then shut up and listen. Don’t interrupt; let him get it all off of his chest. Whilst he is speaking, you nod and mirror his body posture. Nod your head in agreement, try to get your breathing in the same rhythm and timing with his, acknowledge what he says, but don’t interrupt him until he runs out of things to say.
Once he has finished, continue to build a bond by saying, “I understand what you are saying and I see your point of view. I didn’t realize you had such strong feelings about it, but …” Now you have rapport he will lower his defensives and be less aggressive. Now you can gently begin to put your point of view and slowly move into another posture. You will now have the advantage of the rapport and be in control of the situation. Be sure to maintain your cool as you begin to put your point of view.
Just a word about temper … Any form of temper or anger destroys rapport — it is a signal of being out of control. It is very destructive and the quickest way to destroy all the good motivational work that has been done. You may feel like tearing someone’s head off and screaming at them but to do so will deny yourself control and expose your own vulnerability. The master can chastise his subject and make his point far more effectively if he can remain cool calm and collected.
Many summers ago a boat yard in the south of England sold a very expensive yacht to a lady client. On taking delivery of the craft she became unhappy and claimed that the standard of workmanship was not as high as she had expected and in general was just not happy with the boat. She threw tantrums and never stopped complaining about the most trivial of things. She did, in fact become a tyrant and was dreaded throughout the boat yard.
As the designer of the craft I was asked to meet with the lady client in an effort to establish exactly what her complaints were, and to see if I could bring the whole distasteful situation to a successful conclusion. A meeting was arranged and it was agreed that we should take the boat out on trials to try to pinpoint the problems. She agreed and with some trepidation I cast off and we got underway.
I had armed myself with a large notepad upon which I intended to note every complaint, however minor, and to my surprise, the ‘tyrant’ turned out to be a most charming and engaging lady. Her conversation was bright and enthusiastic. I listened with genuine interest to her and built rapport as we sailed along. She made no mention at all about the boat, so my notebook remained unmarked, and I just listened and remained attentive.
During the entire trip she did not make one single word of complaint. I did in fact invent one or two very minor points to help justify the trip and for her to physically see that her complaints had yielded some improvement to her boat. After our little trip she stepped ashore happy and very satisfied. All she had wanted was attention. She thought that since she had spent so much money on the boat, that she should have received a little more of the limelight and V.I.P treatment, and rightly so.
As we made our way back up the dock she was assured that the minor jobs to be completed and the yacht to be generally checked-out for the next day delivery.
“Oh, that is so kind of you,” she said.
Just a little attentive listening and some genuine interest shown toward her and the whole situation was reversed. The ‘tyrant’ became as docile as a lamb and another very satisfied customer. Such is the power of rapport.*
* See Which Way Now by Dave Gannaway
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