Good communication skills are the key to any successful relationship. From your spouse or children to your boss or your coaching clients, communication skills will help you build connection and ultimately better understand each other. And with better understanding, both parties can feel positive about the relationship.
Being a good communicator might come naturally to some people, but not to all. The good news is that it is a skill you can learn! Below, we are sharing our best tips for building rapport with just about anyone.
What do we mean by rapport?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, rapport can be defined as:
“a friendly, harmonious relationship; a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.”
Rapport is what happens when we connect with someone else through shared feelings or experiences. It is a positive link between parties that leads to feelings of contentment and meaningful interactions.
As a life coach, the ability to quickly build rapport with your clients is an important skill to develop. You want your clients to feel comfortable being vulnerable so they can get the most out of coaching. If they feel connected to you and believe that you truly care through your tone, words and actions, they will have little difficulty sharing. However, if a coach does not make efforts to build rapport, their client may be hesitant to open up and make coaching difficult, if not impossible.
5 Tips for Building Rapport With Anyone
To successfully build rapport with anyone, including coaching clients, you can utilize a number of verbal and social skills. Some techniques that can be very effective include:
It is rare to find someone who does not like to talk about themselves. After all, we know ourselves best and so it’s easy to do. When trying to establish rapport with another person, make certain to practice active listening techniques and show genuine interest. Be sure to give them your full attention and ask follow up questions. Asking questions shows that you are really listening to them and that you care about what they are saying. Plus, questioning is the fastest way to learn more about someone and create more meaningful interactions.
Hearing and listening are not necessarily the same thing. True listening is active, not passive. When you actively listen and engage with what someone is saying, you are showing them the greatest level of respect. In order to do this most effectively, you can repeat what they’ve said back to them to ensure you understand their meaning. This shows that you care that you get it right.
Use the right body language
We speak with much more than our voices. According to a 1971 study, body language represents about 55% of typical interactions, whereas tone and the sound of your voice represent 38%. The actual words you say only represent about 7% of communication. Whether those statistics are accurate or not, it is clear that body language certainly plays a large role in our interpersonal communication.
Body language can include gestures, facial expressions, eye contact and even your posture. While very often subtle, these displays can directly impact the way someone feels or perceives an interaction. Practice positive body language cues such as leaning forward, softening your mouth or nodding when conversing with another person. Be aware of your body during interactions and see where you might be giving off an unintended impression.
One of the best ways to connect with someone else is over shared interests, experiences or opinions. Creating empathy, or the ability to understand or share the feelings of others, is the foundation for connection because it makes the other person feel understood. And ultimately, we all want to feel understood and accepted. By asking questions, you can find those areas of common ground.
Remember names and key facts
Finally, remembering someone’s name and a few key facts about them can go a long way in building a positive relationship. We’ve all been there – someone you’ve met several times before doesn’t recall your name or even that you’ve already met! It immediately builds a wall and makes connection much more challenging.
By remembering their name, where they work or the name of their pet, you can demonstrate your attentiveness and your interest in that person, making them feel valued.