How to Build an Instant Rapport

Today we're going to talk about my 10 time-tested tips for building an instant rapport.

 

If you prefer audio only, you can listen to the full episode on my podcast below or on iTunes.

#1. Arrive on time.

This is like duh, of course you need to arrive on time. But you won't believe how many people do not arrive on time when I ask them to come and meet with me for a sales meeting or when they come for an interview.

#2. Introduce yourself with a firm handshake, eye contact, and a smile.

Nothing makes you more attractive to the other person and nothing makes a better first impression than eye contact, a genuine smile, and a firm handshake.

#3. Smile.

And speaking about smiling, tip number three is to smile. Not any smile, but an authentic, genuine, real smile, like you're happy to be there and you're happy to meet that person. Like this is the best part of your day, to be here meeting with this person or these people. You want to smile as soon as you walk in and shake the other person's hand. You want to smile in the beginning of the conversation. You want to smile during the conversation, when appropriate. You don't want to smile the entire time. And you absolutely want to smile when you're saying goodbye, when you are wrapping up the conversation, and when you're shaking their hand and leaving. You definitely want to make eye contact and smile while saying goodbye.

#4. Be yourself.

There is absolutely nothing that can make or break a sales meeting, an interview, or a presentation, quite as fast as somebody who is fake. Because if you are not being yourself, if you're not being your true, authentic self, if you're not being the best version of yourself, you will come across as fake. And that's going to be the end of it.

#5. Project confidence even if you don't feel confident.

You must project confidence, and you must appear confident. I know this kind of clashes with tip number four, where I told you that you need to be authentic and you need to be true to yourself. If you're nervous, how can you be authentic and be confident? You have to summon that courage. That courage that all of us have inside of ourselves. You have to bring it to the surface and appear confident.

#6. Maintain eye contact.

There is nothing less attractive than a person who is sitting there in front of you, and not making eye contact. When you talk to that person, you expect eye contact back. So when that person shifts his gaze from side to side and doesn’t look at you as he speaks, that makes you feel that you cannot trust that person. It makes you feel that person is hiding something and is not entirely truthful with you.

#7. Say the other person’s name.

Say the other person’s name or if there are several people, say their names often. But not too often, you don't want to say their name in every sentence because then it feels forced and it feels fake.

#8. Be honest.

Do not try to lie during a sales meeting, or an interview, or a presentation. If somebody asks you a tough question that you simply do not know the answer to, honestly saying you don't know something, but you will research it and get back to them on this, is 100% better than saying something that's not true and making an idiot out of yourself.

#9. Listen attentively and ask questions.

This is so important. When the other person is talking to you, you should not be spending time trying to figure out how you can turn this situation to your advantage or what you can ask next. No, when somebody is talking to you, you listen. You really, really listen, and make mental notes of things that you learn about this person and things that you learn about this situation. You can also note things that you learn about yourself. Then ask questions when appropriate, and ask them based on what you heard. That will show the other person that you are truly listening. Everybody wants to be heard and everybody wants to be understood, so make sure you do just that.

#10. Mirror the other person.

And finally, our last tip. Mirroring the other person has truly been my secret weapon for as long as I remember. In fact, I have been doing it forever without even realizing I'm doing it. Only recently, I started analyzing why I'm able to ace almost every interview I've ever gone to and why am I able to close so many in-person sales calls. I was trying to deconstruct that in order to see what exactly am I doing there, that makes such a huge difference. Then it kind of hit me, I am, without even trying, just intuitively mirroring the other person.

Here is how it works. Let's say the person that you are talking to speaks in a very loud voice, makes a lot of hand gestures, and speaks very, very fast. What you want to do, is in a subtle way without appearing to be doing so, you will speak at the same volume as the other person. You're will be a little more animated than you usually are, and you will be speaking at the same speed. You're going to be speaking a little faster in order to be in tune with the other person. I think that is a good word to say, you're trying to be in tune with them. That sends a very subtle message to the other person, that you have a rapport.

You do not want it to appear forced, because remember you still are your authentic self, you still need to be who you are. All we're talking about is making very tiny, barely noticeable adjustments, which put you in tune with the other person’s frequency.

I absolutely encourage you to go out there today. Today, don't postpone it, go out there, find a person that you don't know and have never met before, or maybe somebody you do know, and practice it. See how you can mirror them, very subtly, and notice how fast it builds your rapport.

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. Have a wonderful day!

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