Improve your relationships with the power of rapport

Rapport is essential for relationship success. It helps you bond with other people. And those bonds are critical for your social success, mental health and team results. So what’s involved in developing a strong rapport? Here are three techniques to get you started.


First, synchronise your verbal and nonverbal behaviours with the other person. This is called ‘matching’. This creates a subconscious connection between you, because it triggers mirror neuron responses. The more you match, it seems, the more you connect. Second, ask open questions. This helps you uncover the other person’s values and interests – so you can connect with them. Remember that great questions often start with ‘what’. For example:

  • What brings you here today?
  • What are you most interested in?
  • What’s your favourite hobby?
  • What do you love about your job?

Third, always look for common ground. Focus on how you are similar to others: whether it’s your professional interests, someone you both know or their great taste in pets. Pointing out similarities is a great way to encourage self-disclosure: which is a hallmark of rapport.


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Keep in mind that developing a stronger rapport may not happen overnight. If you struggle to make a connection with someone, remember to try mirroring their behaviour. Remember that we like people who are like us, so always focus on what you have in common!


About the author of this tip:

Eleanor Shakiba is a specialist in positive psychology training. She has helped over 50,000 professionals to build confidence, presence and influence at work. Her passion is working with the ‘positive deviants’ in organisations – equipping them to think creatively and build a better world. Eleanor is the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D practitioners. She also runs a range of retreats and workshops for trainers and facilitators.

Want to teach your team to build positive relationships at work? Call Eleanor Shakiba. 0433 126 841