Rapport is a connection or relationship with someone else. It can be considered as a state of harmonious understanding with another individual or group. Building rapport is the process of developing that connection with someone else.
Have you ever known people who have a knack for connecting with others? No matter who they meet, they manage to create a sense of trust and understanding within minutes.
It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what position you hold: knowing how to build rapport can bring you countless opportunities. After all, when you have a rapport with someone, he or she will usually want to help you succeed.
Some people might argue that this is all a natural gift – either you can build rapport with people or you can’t. However, this is not the whole story. Rapport can develop naturally, but anyone can also nurture and improve rapport, just as they can any other skill.
What Is Rapport?
Rapport forms the basis of meaningful, close and harmonious relationships between people. It’s the sense of connection that you get when you meet someone you like and trust, and whose point of view you understand. It’s the bond that forms when you discover that you share one another’s values and priorities in life.
According to researchers, when you have a rapport with someone, you share:
You’re both focused on, and interested in, what the other person is saying or doing.
You’re both friendly and happy, and you show care and concern for one another.
You feel “in sync” with one another, so that you share a common understanding. Your energy levels, tone and body language are also similar.
This connection can appear instantly – when you “click” with someone – or develop slowly, over time. It can grow naturally, without intent, or you can deliberately set out to build it.
Rapport isn’t just a tool for building relationships, though; it’s often the foundation of success. When you have a rapport with someone, you’re better placed to influence, learn and teach, particularly as the trust that you’ve built up means other people are more likely to accept your ideas, to share information, and to create opportunities together.
Whether you’re being interviewed for a job, selling something, or trying to improve a relationship, knowing how to build rapport can help you to perform successfully.
Tip: Rapport is similar to trust. You can build trust and rapport simultaneously, but rapport focuses more on establishing a bond or connection, whereas trust relies more on establishing a reputation for reliability, consistency and keeping your promises.