It's Not All About 'Me': The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone - by Robin Dreeke

  1. Establishing artificial time constraints: Allow the person being targeted to feel that there is an end in sight.

  2. Accommodating nonverbals: Ensure that both your body language as well as your voice is non-threatening.

  3. Slower rate of speech: Don't oversell and talk too fast. You lose credibility quickly and come on too strong and threatening.

  4. Sympathy or assistance theme: Human beings are genetically coded to provide assistance and help. It also appeals to their ego that they may know more than you.

  5. Ego suspension: Most likely the hardest technique but without a doubt the most effective. Don't build yourself up, build someone else up and you will have strong rapport.

  6. Validate others: Human beings crave being connected and accepted. Validation feeds this need and few give it. Be the great validator and have instant, great rapport.

  7. Ask… How? When? Why? : When you want to dig deep and make a connection, there is no better or safer way than asking these questions. They will tell you what they are willing to talk about.

  8. Connect with quid pro quo: Some people are just more guarded than others. Allow them to feel comfortable by giving a little about you. Don't overdo it.

  9. Gift giving (reciprocal altruism): Human beings are genetically coded to reciprocate gifts given. Give a gift, either intangible or material, and seek a conversation and rapport in return.

  10. Managing expectations: Avoid both disappointment as well as the look of a bad salesman by ensuring that your methods are focused on benefitting the targeted individual and not you. Ultimately you will win, but your mindset needs to focus on them.

Technique 1: Establishing Artificial Time Constraints

Technique 2: Accommodating Nonverbals

The main objective in all engagements is simple; the person you are engaging must leave the conversation and interaction feeling better for having met you. Smiling is the number one nonverbal technique you should utilize to look more accommodating. Adding a slight head tilt shows the other person that you have comfort with them and trust them. Another nonverbal to try and maintain is a slightly lower chin angle. A slight body angle or blade away from the individual you are engaging will present a much more accommodating nonverbal. An accommodating handshake is one that matches the strength of the other, and also takes more of a palm up angle.

Technique 3: Slower Rate of Speech

When individuals speak slowly and clearly, they tend to sound more credible than those who speak quickly. Whenever I have a conversation that I believe is important for me to be credible in my content, I purposely slow down the delivery and take pauses for people to absorb the content of what I have just said.

Technique 4: Sympathy or Assistance Theme

The importance of keeping the request easy and nonthreatening cannot be overemphasized. "Great conversationalists have patience and wait for the right opportunity to capitalize on opportunities that are natural and not ones that are forced."

Technique 5: Ego Suspension

Suspending your ego is nothing more complex than putting other individuals' wants, needs, and perceptions of reality ahead of your own.

Technique 6: Validate Others

  • Listening

  • Thoughtfulness

  • Validate Thoughts and Opinions

Technique 7: Ask… How? When? Why?

  • Minimal encouragers

  • Reflective questions

  • Emotional labeling

  • Paraphrasing

  • Pauses

  • Summarize

  • By restating what he just said but as a question, the individual becomes compelled to elaborate more.

Technique 8: Connect With Quid Pro Quo

In my experiences, there are really only two types of situations where I have utilized quid pro quo. The first and more common of the instances is when you attempt to converse with someone who is either very introverted, guarded, or both. The second instance is when the person you are conversing with suddenly becomes very aware about how much they have been speaking, and they suddenly feel awkward. In both instances, giving a little information about you will help alleviate some of the issues.

Technique 9: Gift Giving (Reciprocal Altruism)

I generally carry both hand sanitizer and breath mints with me. While standing in a line at a checkout counter, I may take my hand sanitizer out, and offer some to the person next to me before I take some myself. Even if they decline, they feel the need to reciprocate the offer of the gift. Most often, it is reciprocated in the willingness to converse. I will do the same thing with breath mints. You would be amazed at how friendly and helpful people become when you offer them a small gift or token. The best time to give the gift is before they offer you one. Preemptive gift giving is great at facilitating future engagements.

When individuals give gifts or do kind deeds with an agenda at the forefront of their mind, it demeans the value of the gift, and has the appearance of insincerity. The key to being a successful gift giver is to manage your expectations and keep the focus on them.

Technique 10: Manage Expectations

Ultimately we can never predict the actions of others, no matter how skilled we are at these techniques. The surest way however of not being disappointed is to ensure that we manage our expectations before ever commencing an engagement.