How to Create Rapport

happy womenIn order to attract clients, you need to create rapport.

People want to work with someone they like.

It’s a skill that you need to develop and exercise.

You can practice it in your personal life. You will gain valuable experience and you will also make a lot of people feel happier.

It’s simple. You just listen. Really listen. Focus entirely on that one person at a time.

What do you say when you greet a friend? Hi! How’s it going? Well that’s pretty vague. The friend knows that your question just requires a simple answer, not a monologue.

woman thinking about what to askBut what happens if you instead ask a specific question?

  • Hi! What was the best part of your day today?
  • Hi! What made you happy today?
  • Hi! What made you decide to wear green today?

That type of query shows that you are actually interested in what they will respond.

Let’s think about some other situations where you can indicate that you are genuinely interested in somebody.

Suppose you are checking out at the supermarket. The clerk looks tired and wishing he/she were not having to deal with all the annoying customers. Don’t be another irritant.

It doesn’t require much:

  • You are really quick. I appreciate your efficiency.
  • Your hair looks like you just had it styled.
  • Celeste. That is such a pretty name.

If you haven’t tried focusing on something special about a clerk, I bet you’ll be surprised at how you can change her day.

It works on the phone too. If the person seems to need a little lift, give her one:

  • I really appreciate it that you are separating my groceries into logical groups.
  • You have such a nice voice. No wonder your were hired to speak on the phone.
  • How’s your day going; have you talked to anybody from another country?

meeting a new personInstead of hating attending a networking event, try making it special for someone you don’t know. It’s easy to win new friends simply by showing genuine interest in her life or opinions.

  • Have you met anyone yet tonight who you’d really be interested in getting to know better?
  • What made you come to this meetup? Are you looking for business opportunities or friends?
  • I noticed you the minute I walked into the room and just love that gorgeous necklace.

How about your closest relative or friend? Do you show an interest in what he or she is doing? Not just how was your day. That is too vague and doesn’t convey real interest in how life is feeling today. I hope you don’t tend to just have nondescript conversations with those that you care about the most but sometimes we forget to let them know that we really care about what they are doing or feeling.

When is the last time that you showed curiosity about your spouse’s views on what’s going on? Or your dad’s opinions about what would make the world a better place? When you get together with someone after hours or days apart, do you convey that you appreciate her ideas?

  • How was your golf game? Did you have any especially good holes?
  • Did you hear about the guy in South Dakota who won the lottery? What would you do first you were insanely rich?
  • If we could go anywhere this weekend, where would you choose?

It takes so little effort to give a compliment or ask for an opinion.

Do you engage with people in a meaningful way? What other things to you say to them to indicate your sincere interest?


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  1. I agree this is SO important. Yesterday while attending obedience training with my dog Pepper, I notice the woman next to me looking a bit tense and down. Her dog was acting out but was muzzled. Now, I know from experience how difficult it is to have a dog that reacts badly to other dogs. My dog Atticus was that kind of dog and it’s so stressful going through the process of teaching them how to behave; especially when he weighed 95 lbs! So I took a moment to ask her how she was doing & how her dog was doing. In our 3 minute conversation I was able to let her know she’s not alone, others do understand, and she will get through it. It felt great to be able to give her some hope when she was obviously feeling hopeless.

    • Lisa, that was a really kind thing to do. Knowing that someone understands and is there for her must have been a huge lift for her. I’m sure she really appreciated that you let her know that it would turn out all right.

  2. Beth – your article reminds me of another I read once by Marilyn Vos Savant. (She has one of the highest IQs ever recorded) Anyway, someone wrote to Marilyn to say that she was going on a blind date, and was not looking forward to it, because previous endeavors were such flops. Marilyn wrote back and said something like, “Why not go forward presuming you’re meeting the man of your dreams?” Ever since I read about this, I’ve tried to approach meeting new people this way. ‘The next person I meet could be a new great friend.’

    • Hi Joan! Yes, I know who Marilyn Vos Savant is and enjoy her weekly column. I love that idea. Acting as if the person may be a good friend is an excellent way to approach a new person.

  3. I agree, Beth. Listening is very important to connect with others. As a Professional Organizer, asking specific questions are a part of the job. Many people who are I meet are overwhelmed so finding the words can be difficult. If I am talking to them on the phone, I usually walk away from my desk and sit on my swing outside. The distraction of electronics doesn’t help the conversation. Thanks for sharing.

    • That’s a great idea, Sabrina. Having a phone conversation away from beeps and such puts people more at ease and not feeling that they are interrupting something. A swing sounds appealing.

  4. I love this, Beth, and it’s so true–people really just want to be heard. Not the problem fixed, but to be heard. And asking meaningful question is such a beautiful way to show that you’re truly interested.
    You’re so right as well–giving someone a bit of a brighter day isn’t difficult. You just have to care enough to, and then to engage them.
    Great post!

    • Thank you, Susan. It just occurred to me that people often don’t stop and think about what it can mean to somebody when we make the very small effort of being interested in their opinions, for example.

  5. These are some great examples of how to really communicate, Beth. Once I was at Sears with a return and it was the cashier’s first day. I could tell he was nervous; he kept apologizing. I told him I wasn’t in a hurry and that it was okay to take his time. The relief on his face was visible. It’s amazing what being kind can do for someone.

  6. I love these! All excellent points. It’s about sincere communication and active listening — skills we can all work on every day. I do the same thing when I see someone who is stressed out or even just not smiling. A sincere compliment can change someone’s outlook for the entire day. Who know — maybe their entire outlook on life and the kindness of strangers.

    • It’s always worth a try, Jackie. If we can help someone feel better for a day or show them that they don’t have to feel alone for all their days, it is certainly the tiny effort that it reequires from us. Even a smile is worth giving.

  7. This is a topic I absolutely resonate and agree with Beth! If we truly understood that all any of us wants is to be seen and heard, we would take the time to appreciate and acknowledge all the people we come in contact with in our lives. I remember taking a workshop “The Art of Powerful Conversation” and learned the idea of two-part questions and creative questioning. This is exactly what you are talking about. Ask something that engages the other, because they feel and sense you have a genuine interest in them. The sad part of the “me” generation years, is that so many people care more about themselves than the people around them, so continue to engage on a superficial level without wanting to be in true communication with the other person. Great post and something our world could use more of today. Conscious interest and concern for the other!

    • Beverley, you are absolutely right that this type of thing is becoming less and less frequent. Sadly, many younger people and even boomers, are so attached to their phones that they don’t even see the people next to them, much less take a minute to make authentic contact. It is really too bad.

  8. These are great points, Beth. Too often we don’t even listen to the reply to that generic question; ‘how are you?” Yesterday at the grocery I mentioned to the hassled teller how busy it was and that progressed into a real conversation about the busiest days and how she copes with them. By the time I left she looked much less stressed, which of course lifted my mood as I could see I had made a difference, just by listening.I usually try for a sincere compliment but often just a bit of empathy will make all the difference.

    • Hi Tamuria! That’s great. It is so easy to help somebody relieve stress by just being human! And as you said, it made you feel good too. Win-Win!

  9. Great stuff Beth.. I usually don’t struggle in this situation as… well, I can talk to anyone about anything, as you know.. but this is helpful for those, who can’t/don’t!

  10. Such and excellent article Beth. Good communication is such a powerful tool – and can swing towards empowering or the opposite. You have offered empowering communication skills that not only set you up as a leader and caring person but open the door for another to reach to higher standard too. Thank you.

  11. This was great, Beth. Such thoughtful questions and things to consider. So much of life is all about clear communication. There is common ground to be found with everyone we know. We just have to seek it out.

    • Meghan, I’m glad that you enjoyed my post. You’re right; we can always find common ground which allows for good communication.

  12. In reading your blog & the comments, it seems we all know the value of listening, ‘really getting’ the other person, showing interest, etc, and we have examples how we do this. Yet, I know there are times, mostly while working, I get a phone solicitation that goes like; Hi Roslyn, how are you today”. Immediately I know I dont know this person & dont care to befriend the person, so I usually ask if we know one another & if not, could they get to the point. Truthfully, I dont have time to build rapport to hear the pitch when my development doesnt allow solar panels. I dont make their day, but my time is valuable.
    Just thought I’d present an alternate view.

    • That’s a really good point, Roz. I don’t think that trying to make someone’s day has to extend to phone solicitors. Those calls are such an annoyance and they waste our time. I like to be nice to people, but that doesn’t include making unwanted callers happy.

  13. True, people do not listen enough but often just go on and on about themselves, or just cannot be bothered to focus on the person in front of them. A good point here in your article. 🙂

  14. Hi Beth,
    You totally hit the nail on the head when it comes to creating and maintaining rapport with people, thank you for sharing these must tips for building that rapport . So important especially for us bloggers and network marketers 🙂 Awesome post!

  15. When I travel by plane, I really don’t want to engage in conversation with the person sitting next to me. Nothing personal, I just want to be quiet. Bless their souls, every time someone engages me in conversation. They turn out to be the most interesting people and we have the greatest conversations. I share, they share, and both of us learn so much from each other.

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