There are people who get along with everyone. From the gardener to the director of a large corporation. These people get what they want without straining.
Maybe you’re one of these people. If you’re not, you surely have a friend who is. Some call it a magnetic personality, others “popular”. Everyone has to do with them and many are willing to do anything to please them.
Is it a natural gift? Are these people “lucky”?
The answer is yes and no. The difference is that they know how to establish better communication and how to do it in a natural way. Some have known all along, others have learned.
The good news is that you can do it too. And it is not difficult. To establish better communication is a process that consists of many factors, but the most important of all is that I will discuss in this article and -incredibly- is unknown to many.
Better communication: rapport, your best ally
It is about creating “rapport“. Although the term sounds exotic, it’s not more than developing the ability to “tune” with others. When we listen to a radio program, we have to digitally tune the device to locate the station from which it is transmitted. By doing this, we are bringing the device to “hear” a certain frequency.
With interpersonal communication is the same. We can think that each person “lives” its own frequency, and if we want to have better communication with them, we have to “tune” their frequency, i.e., we must be in the same frequency.
This is the simplest definition of rapport. Achieving better interpersonal communication by achieving a perfect harmony with whom we communicate.
The term, which comes from the French verb rapporter has been widely used in psychology and techniques of neurolinguistic programming (NLP). But what interests us is its practicality.
What builds rapport?
The aim of this article -or rather this series of articles- is to know the techniques that allow us to develop better communication with others. It is important to say that what makes the development of rapport a hard task is the fact that each person lives in a different frequency and for our rapport be effective we must be able to tune each of these frequencies. That is why there is no single formula to develop.
Although it sounds complicated, there are basics where we can start from that will allow us to tune with anyone. These bases –even though I’m not doing a big research about them- are built on three key elements:
1. Internal status: a person is in an emotional state at any given moment: happy, sad, melancholic, euphoric, pessimistic, optimistic, nervous, thoughtful, etc.
2. Body language: when a person communicates, it has been determined that your body language represents about 55% of what it conveys.
3. The way to speak: the voice of a person has a tone, volume, speed and the language contains a number of terms, expressions, catch phrases and inflections.
Since we want to live in the same frequency of the person we talk to, in order to achieve better communication requires us to adjust our frequency, based on the three pillars just mentioned.
The best way is trying to imitate or copy the three elements of the person with whom we communicate. In doing so, all communication channels are open, making us feel at ease, feeling that it is heard and understood perfectly.
Most people, when communicating with others, makes it simply as a way to express their inner thoughts without establishing bidirectional communication. I have bad news for those who do so: you’ll hardly achieve to establish empathy, even when they are talking about how they managed to foil a bank robbery or rescued eight puppies that would die of starvation.
The human being wants to be heard, naturally, but to get there; it has to learn to listen. Some may argue that they do not want to be overwhelmed by the problems and predicaments of others, but do not realize that’s exactly what they do when they want to communicate through a unidirectional channel.
In any case, we want to establish harmony with the other, so that all channels are open. By doing so, we can get what we want from the person with whom we communicate. However, I’m not talking about taking advantage of anyone –or any dark hypnotism technique- is simply about being perceived by others as someone who listens and who can be trusted. To have better communication is simple and you can learn it in a simple way.
An old legend from Tibet tells…
A pilgrim, after finding three skulls in the Himalayas, brought the news to the king, which ordered them and gave them to a very wise doctor from his kingdom, saying he wanted to know which of the three had belonged to the best person. The wise retired with the three pieces and after a thorough investigation, returned to his king.
Placing the three skulls on a table, he said, -Your Grace, I already have the answer-. Taking the first one, he continued: – This belonged to the kindest person.
-How do you know? – Asked the king.
-I pushed a wire through one ear and out the other. This means that things went in one ear and out the other. The king nodded as the wise took the second skull.
-When inserting the wire to this one by the ear, it came out from the mouth. It certainly was an indiscreet person who revealed all it heard.
-The king continued with his expectation, while the wise took the last skull, adding: – By introducing the wire to it by the ear, it emerged under the skull toward the heart. Undoubtedly, this one corresponds to the kindest… and wisest person.
How do I develop rapport?
As I said before, rapport is something to develop. While many achieve it in a natural way, anyone can develop. And believe me, it is one of the best investments you can make to your personality. You will not develop in a day, but as you do you will be surprised with the results. You’ll see how everything flows easier, as others will do those things that seemed impossible to do for you.
I’m not talking about manipulating people (even though when we used to do business, it’s almost its only purpose). Think that once you develop rapport, you’ll have better communication with all your surroundings. Think about how you’ll be invested with a power -a very strong power- that you can use as you wish. But with all power comes responsibility. If you use it for good, your life will be easier, more pleasant. If you try to take advantage of it, it is more likely to be reversed and you’ll end up even worse. Better communication is an invaluable asset.
This first article seeks to help you understand the basics of rapport that will help you have a better communication. In principle, what we have to do is to use the three bases described before. When talking to someone, we should try to put ourselves in the same internal state (or at least pretend to do to give confidence to our interlocutor). We should also try to “imitate” his gestures or body language (delicately, without looking like a joke) and finally, we must adjust our vocabulary so we can connect with whom we talk to.
Doing this is not easy at first, but practice makes perfect. In the next article in this series I will write about specific techniques that will give you a better rapport, and therefore better communication. The next will be less technical and show examples of different situations and how to act on them. A preview: when you talk to someone, use their name several times in the conversation.
If you have any questions or comments, please write it at the end of the article. Remember that better communication can make a big difference in the perception others have about you.
Esta entrada también está disponible en: Spanish