The first step towards getting more friends is building a good rapport in the beginning of the relationship.
Whether you’re trying to hit it off with your new coworkers, endear yourself on a first date, or get in a professor’s good graces, you are looking to build rapport. Rapport is that feeling that you and another person are somewhat in sync because the two of you have something in common and are, in some way, alike. This isn’t a quick process for most people, but it truly can be. The following tips can help you take connect with important people quickly and easily in almost every situation.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
If you can, find out what you might have in common with the other party before you meet. Once you are armed with this information, you should let the other person know as soon as possible about any shared interests you might have as discreetly as possible. He or she shouldn’t know that you have been doing any research!
If you are on a job interview, for example, scour the company’s website and other internet resources to get as much information as you can about the interviewer. If you both attended the same university, served in the military or lived in the same town, subtly mention that as soon as possible, maybe even weave that into the answer of one of the questions he or she may ask. You might not be able to get any information on the interviewer, so be very knowledgeable about the company and don’t be afraid to flaunt it; he or she works for the firm and you want a job there—the two of you have so much in common already!
ASK QUESTIONS FIRST
Before you start talking about yourself, ask questions about the other person in an attempt to see what you could have in common. When you are asked direct questions, answer, but be sure to follow up immediately with a related question for the individual you’re speaking with.
Don’t just ask any questions, but use these queries to direct the conversation. If you just went on vacation, ask them about their last vacation. After they tell you about a trip to London, you could say something like, “I love London, but I went to Paris last month, and it was amazing. I just love to travel, don’t you?”
It might not always be appropriate to talk about vacations, so stay on point. Also, remember to actually listen to what the other person is saying. If the other party states that they hate to travel, the above example wouldn’t be an appropriate response, but you could say something that, while not a lie, is more in line with their sentiment like, “I was in Paris last month, and my flight home was delayed a whole day! What a pain!”
MATCHING AND MIRRORING
The foundation of rapport is not simply having something in common, but being like the other person. When folks are really hitting it off they start to act and talk like each other! You can try to mirror someone’s speech and actions to speed up the process of building rapport.
The key to this is subtlety. If you make this obvious, the other person could realize you are copying them and think that you are mocking them.
When trying to mirror actions, be discreet. Mirror small gestures or movements that are probably subconscious for the other person. Touch your cheek when they do. If they cross their legs, do the same. When they take a drink of water, you take a drink from your glass. You don’t have to do everything they do, as you might look a bit crazy, but just a few simple actions should be more than enough.
If you try to copy someone’s speech, don’t attempt to copy accents. Instead, focus first on their speed. If he or she speaks slowly or quickly, do the same. Some people might use a certain vocabulary, favoring specific words that you can start to pepper your speech with. You can also pick up on cadence; for example, if someone’s speech is singsong, you could start speaking in the same way. Again, don’t attempt to copy accents, and please also avoid speech impediments and mispronunciations, as you run a very high risk of offending.
Building rapport is an important step in any relationship, and it can be done quickly and easily in almost every situation. By establishing rapport quickly, you stand a better chance of landing the job, getting a second date or being remembered for the next big business deal.