Anthony Robbins has built an excellent reputation in motivational speaking over the past 3 decades. Tony has shared some exceptionally informative tips on how to get what you want by building rapport with people. In a recent seminar, Tony explained that the usual way in which people try to build rapport with others is by asking questions. By using fact finding, we are searching for commonality, things in common. For example, if a man is interested in a woman he sees in a bar, he might approach her and ask her name, where she is from and what she is drinking. All of these questions are a fact finding technique to enable the questioner to find out more and establish a mutual commonality – through words. This is the important point here. Tony tells us that this is actually not the right way to try and build rapport with people. Verbal interaction is only one of the many ways we can build rapport with people. He asks – how many times have you tried to build rapport with a stranger, asked them a few questions and the conversation has just become a dead end? Many times!
Here are 5 effective tips Tony Robbins gives us to help us build rapport. ‘Mirror matching’ is the phrase he used:
1. Eye Contact. He explained that this is one of the key ways that human beings engage one another and that this is an effective tool. In the sales world, it is drilled in to us to maintain eye contact the entire way through the meeting, specifically when negotiating and not to look away. Tony tells us don’t do it! You do not want it to turn into a staring match and for you to seem obscenely unnatural. However if the person you are meeting with stares you square in the eye, then yes, give them the same eye contact. If they look away, then do the same. It has to be natural, not intense.
2. Body language. This is vital in building rapport and is underutilized so often in the world of business. Around 95% of what you are saying, is conveyed through your body language. If the client folds their arms and leans back, don’t rush to unnaturally do the same thing, but throughout the conversation follow their lead. It is actually a scientific fact, Tony tells us, that if you follow their lead in terms of body language, you can actually consciously control the other person’s body language movements without them realizing. People like people that are similar to themselves. Another obvious example is facial expressions, if the other person is telling a really exciting story and using lots of broad hand gestures, it makes sense to respond in a similar way to convey interest.
3. Proximity. Tony tells us that personal space is something that every human being needs. The comfort level for each person can vary. Some people are fine with having people quite close to them in terms of body alignment/faces, whereas others can feel incredibly uncomfortable. You might observe that those that feel uncomfortable in those situations, often subconsciously start to sway backwards or turn to the side to widen their parameters of personal space again. Watch for this and respect it.
4. Breathing. Mirroring another person’s breathing is probably the most subtle form of mirror matching whilst building rapport. If they are breathing slowly, breathe slow. Quickly, breathe quick. It allows you to keep at their pace. Tony mentions that this is an incredibly effective tool used in a lot of couples therapy sessions! However don’t overdo it…
5. Tone of voice/Volume/Pace. If you are in a meeting with a fast speaking, high volume New Yorker. What kinds of impressions do you gain from their language? You see that they like things done now, they want them done quickly and they don’t have time to waste. They are serious and direct. Whereas if you are in a meeting with a quiet talking, slow paced, person from Georgia, you get the impression that they would not take to fondly or be as responsive to a fast speaking, high volume person. People open up to people who are like themselves. It is easier to connect. The communication flows much more easily and there you have rapport!
These tools can be effective when dealing with all kinds of people. Avoid doing all of them at once, but using one or two at a time can get you the rapport that you want and also go undetected.
Article by Chelsea Flynn, Staffing Coordinator at SteppingStones Recruitment.