As a business leader, you know that building rapport paves the way to smoother relationships. It helps you benefit more from the people you contact. Want to know the simplest way to build rapport?
I watched a young couple in a restaurant the other day and got a refresher course on how to build rapport. This couple sat across the small table from each other, stared into each other’s eyes, and smiled while they talked. She leaned forward, and so did he. He raised his hand and cupped his chin. Then she did. She took a sip of water, and he responded by doing the same thing. They even raised and lowered their utensils simultaneously. It’s simple and subconscious. It’s called mirroring.
It is just like watching someone and her image reflected in a mirror. We do it unconsciously when we want to build common ground. It’s subliminally engaging to the other person. It works great at one-on-one business meetings. Try it at networking events – especially if you’re an introvert. So why not build rapport on purpose for the same reason?
It’s the simplest way to build rapport.
Mirroring is like building a bridge with one another. It signals that you’re on the same wavelength, and promotes trust and understanding. Consider these ways you can mirror other people:
- Use a similar posture and position when you stand or sit with someone.
- Listen for keywords and phrases they use, and use them yourself.
- If your employee comes into your office concerned with a problem, show concern yourself.
- When a customer rushes into your business, rush over to greet him.
- If an older person speaks slowly, slow down when you talk to them, too.
- Next time a child waves her arms excitedly as she relates an experience, wave your arms as you respond.
- If your partner complains loudly about a situation, raise your voice as you commiserate.
Mirroring is the simplest way to build rapport in your relationships. You’ll know it’s working when you start getting reflected by others. Remember, subtlety is a key here, you don’t want to look like you’re copying every move!
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