How To Get On With People

Unless you are a hermit you will have to get on with people. All sorts of people, some great to be with others, well, not so.

Just as you cannot choose your family you cannot also choose those who you have to work with. Unless you are the sole proprietor and even then you will need staff. Back to square one.

Some people are just very good at getting on with people – they have a real ability in building and developing rapport with those around them. We can see this as a natural gift with those lucky enough to possess the gift having excellent relationships and links while the rest of us just flounder and do our best.

The reality of the situation is that we can all have excellent rapport – it’s just about knowing how to develop it.

Rapport happens when there is mutual liking and trust. Once you’ve established rapport with a person, he or she is far more likely to be open with you and share information, buy your product, recommend you to others, or support your ideas. And when someone has established rapport with you, you’re likely to do the same.

How to Build Rapport

Find Common Ground

Always look for something you have in common when you meet someone new. A good approach is to use open-ended questions to discover some personal information about the person which then offers the opportunity to be developed further as rapport ad trust develops. You will be amazed just how little initial common ground can lead to quick and effective rapport.

Focus on Your Appearance

A good first impression is essential in delivering strong rapport. Your appearance should help you connect with people; not create a barrier. A good rule of thumb is to dress just a little bit “better” than the people you’re about to meet. Whenever possible, find out about this in advance. If you arrive and see that you’re overdressed, you can quickly “dress down” to make this a non-threatening experience for all concerned.

Be Empathic

Empathy is about understanding other people by seeing things from their perspective, and recognising their emotions. Once you achieve this, it’s easier to get “on their level.”

Use Mirroring

Mirroring is when you adjust your own body language and spoken language so that you “reflect” that of the person you’re talking to. You will need to carefully watch the person’s body language, including gestures and posture. You should also mirror the other person’s language. If he or she uses simple, direct words, then you should too. If the person speaks in technical language, then match that style if appropriate. When you respond, you can also reiterate key words or phrases that he or she used.

Keep a Focus on the Basics

Remember the simple but very important stuff like shaking g hands firmly (in cultures where this is acceptable), looking people in the eye, smiling, holding your head up and maintaining good posture and asking open-ended questions.

Re-establishing Rapport

Once rapport has been lost, rebuilding it takes time.

First, confront why you lost the rapport in the first place. Explain honestly and simply what happened. If you need to apologise, do so. Then focus on ways of repairing any broken or lost trust. This may take a lot of time, effort and soul-searching but at all costs show transparency and a genuine concern for the other person’s needs as this will go a long way in rebuilding trust and re-establishing rapport.

Rapport is a cornerstone of good business; those who generate good and open rapport gain much in the way of contracts and commercial knowledge. Those who do not generally struggle and remain somewhat in the shadows which rarely leads to career advancement and the Chair of Business at Oxford!

Make rapport work for you.

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