Today we're going to talk about 10 time-tested tips for building an instant rapport. Building a rapport during face to face meetings is definitely one of my strengths, and I've used these tips to ace pretty much every interview I've ever been at. I've used these tips to go and win face to face sales meetings. I've used these tips even to give presentations to a very small group of people. They absolutely work. Make sure to listen to the very end, because my tip number 10 is definitely my secret weapon, and it can become yours.
Tip number one: 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. So many people do not understand the concept of arriving on time and how important it is.
Tip number two: 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. And speaking about a smile, tip number three: smile. Not any smile, but an authentic, genuine, real smile, like you're happy to be there, like you're happy to meet that person. 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 persons 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 whole 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 absolutely want to make eye contact and smile. If you want to learn about the power of a smile, make sure to check my video. The link is up there.
Tip number four: be yourself. There is absolutely nothing that can make or break a sales meeting, an interview, or a presentation, as somebody who is fake. Because if you are not being yourself, if you're not being your true, authentic self...Let me rephrase that. 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.
Tip number five: project confidence, even if you don't feel it. You must project confidence, you must appear confident. I know this kind of clashes with tip number four, where I told you you need to be authentic, 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 you, you have to bring it to the surface, and appear confident.
Tip number six: 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, right? And when that person shifts his gaze from side to side, and is not looking at you as he speaks, that makes you feel that you cannot trust that person. It makes you feel that person is hiding something, is not entirely truthful with you.
Tip number seven: 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.
Tip number eight: 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 a hundred percent better than saying something that's not true, and making an idiot out of yourself.
Tip number nine: 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 can I turn this situation to my advantage? What can I ask next? No. When somebody is talking to you, you listen. You really, really listen, and make mental notes of things that you're learning about this person, things that you're learning about this situation, things that you're learning about yourself maybe. And ask questions when appropriate, and ask questions based on what you heard. That will show the other person that you are truly listening. Everybody wants to be heard, everybody wants to be understood, so make sure you do just that.
And finally, tip number 10: mirror the other person. This truly has 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. And only recently I started analyzing why I'm able to ace almost every interview I've ever gone to. Why am I able to close so many in-person sales calls? I was trying to deconstruct that, and trying to see what exactly am I doing there that makes such a huge difference, and 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, and makes a lot of hand gestures, and speaks very, very fast. What you want to do, without appearing to be doing so—it has to be very subtle—what you're gonna do is, you will speak at the same volume as the other person. You're going to be a little more animated, maybe, than you usually are, and you're going to be speaking at the same speed. You're going to be speaking a little faster 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, but these adjustments put you in tune with the other person’s frequency. I absolutely encourage you to go out there today. Today, don't postpone, 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.
You're just moments away from taking the first step towards becoming a confident, compelling, and captivating speaker!