Rapport Building on the Unconscious level.

We all know that rapport with our clients is important. Without it, tasks seem arduous and communication feels stilted. In fact, having good rapport with a prospective client could be the tipping point on major decisions.

What limits most people however, is that they only think of developing rapport on the conscious level. They attempt to find common interests, shared hobbies, etc. While this can be effective eventually after some probing questions, there is an easier and faster way to gain this rapport. What I’m proposing you develop is unconscious rapport.

Humans unconsciously sync up with each other all the time. Watch two people who are deeply engaged in conversation at a restaurant. Notice how they tend to match and mirror each other. When you consciously develop rapport on the unconscious level, outside of the other person’s awareness, you engage and communicate with your client on a whole new level.

So how do you do that?

Think about this: it is estimated that our brain processes over 2 million bits of information/second; consciously we are aware of about 134 pieces of that and we can usefully attend to about 7-9 pieces of that 134. This means that we are aware of less than 1% of what is going on at any given moment. This is a lot of data that is outside of most people’s awareness. Knowing this, you can use this information to the benefit of you and the person you are seeking to build rapport with.

When a prospective client walks in the door and you go to greet them, you can immediately begin to develop unconscious rapport by paying attention to the things that they are not. For example, you can match or mirror their physical movements. If their legs are crossed with left over right then you cross your legs right over left, or perhaps cross your arms. If they speak slowly then you should slow down your cadence to match them. Pick up on key words that they use and feed them back to them so you are literally speaking their language. This will help to enhance trust and collaboration while building stronger relationships. Remember, this should be subtle and outside the other persons awareness, if you do it too deliberately or too much then it may just come across as creepy!

Paying attention to others styles will not only make you a more flexible communicator, but also a more persuasive speaker. You will be listening and paying attention to a different set of incoming data. This will serve to heighten your awareness of your clients’ moods and enable you to adjust your own style as appropriate. Developing rapport this way will also improve your leadership and team building skills as you become more flexible in meeting others’ needs.

This is a powerful technique that many are already using; are you?