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Building Rapport

Recently I was asked – “How do you build rapport?”
Rapport – “a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy – a friendly, harmonious relationship.”
I see rapport as being the sense of connection that I may have with someone.
When you have good rapport it’s like being in sync with someone, and are mutually interested in each other. Often you’ll discover that you have similar feelings and emotions too.
It is also about effective communication and building a healthy camaraderie.
Building rapport is all about establishing that connection and the process of creating deeper relationships.

Top Tips

Firstly, start with yourself!
You really need to know and understand your truest self. Who are you, what are your core values, what are your interests and hobbies, how do you go about getting things done? Importantly – do not pretend to be someone you’re not!
Secondly, empathy is key.
What is empathy? It’s understanding how others feel and being compassionate toward them. The key part to empathy is being genuinely curious. Don’t just stand in another person’s shoes, go, and actually take a walk in them!
Thirdly, ask questions.
Some variation of “tell me about yourself” is often a great way to start a conversation. Asking questions can remove uncomfortable small talk and help you get into more meaningful conversations.
Fourthly, listen!
Active listening means giving your full attention to someone who is speaking. If someone feels like you are hearing them, they will likely listen to you in return, which can establish a good relationship and build great rapport.
Fifthly, take time to understand.
When you take the time to really understand someone, you’ll begin to be able to see the world from the other person’s perspective. It helps to find some common ground and create some shared experiences together.
I know that building great rapport will improve your relationships and will make you a better communicator.
What can you do to build rapport?

Being heard

Have you ever met someone who not only listened to you but really tried to understand you?
How did you feel about the person?
Have you been heard recently?
I mean, 𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒍𝒍𝒚 𝒉𝒆𝒂𝒓𝒅.
You may have to think long and hard about that question.
It may have been quite a while since you feel that you have been heard.
Can you remember what it felt like?
What words come to mind?
We can all seek to be heard beyond simply the words that we are speaking.
As a coach, frequently I find that coachees want me to know and hear the feelings of their heart.
Sometimes that can take a few sessions to achieve.
My experience has taught me that if you have been heard, then you are much more willing to listen.
Real listening can’t happen unless we have a sincere desire to understand what we’re hearing.
Sometimes – that isn’t easy for many of us, including me too!
Why? Because we also need to suspend our judgement.
You know that voice in your head that says – I know better.
Or that frustrated impatient feeling in your heart which says – I already know how.
When actually – we don’t know better or how at all.
We may think we do, but we don’t!
Listening to someone means getting out of your own head and trying to understand another person’s mind.
It’s all about empathy.

Here are some tips…

1. Slow down.
2. Let go of your own thoughts and opinions
3. Listen with your whole body, not just with your ears, eyes, and head, but by mirroring their body movements (without being too obvious.)
4. Be genuinely curious, by focusing all your attention on the other person and being present.
5. Become comfortable with silence, allowing the other person space and time to access their inner wisdom.
6. Don’t interrupt and wait until the other person is ready for you to speak.
Listening is crucial to presence.
Why not take a moment, reflect on the tips above and help someone to be heard today?
#heard #presence #listening #empathy #silence

Curiosity

“Tell me, on a scale from 1 to 10, where are you right now?” I asked curiously…

Since my earliest childhood memories, I’ve been curious about things, people, nature, places, history, travel and culture to name a few. I have always been eager to know or learn something new and understand “why?” That probably explains one of the seemingly insatiable penchant’s of mine…..reading books!

One vivid memory from my childhood involved filling a jam jar with some foliage and then capturing a bumble bee. I’d already had some help to put some holes in the lid of the jar, so that any bee’s I captured could breath. I recall observing and listening to the bee for no more than a day, studying it, feeling sad about keeping it in a jar and then setting it free again.

Curiosity is often seen as the driving force behind not only human development, but developments in science, language, and industry. I know too that it is a vital component in coaching and mentoring

My experience is that questions driven by the curiosity of a coach can be the catalyst and driving force for change. I have come to understand that curiosity is the key to learning. It can help to expand our empathy too by helping us understand life experiences different than our own.

What are you curious about?

“How do you walk in another person’s shoes?”

“How do you walk in another person’s shoes?” asked the workshop participant…

A great question and one that I have been asked repeatedly in recent coaching workshops.

A big part of the answer is to do with 𝐞𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐲.

Empathy is understanding another person’s feelings, thoughts, and condition from their perspective, rather than our own.

In my experience empathy is being very present in any conversation, attentively listening deeply, being open minded without judgement, looking into their eyes and giving someone your undivided attention, in order to sense their emotions. Frequently a human connection is made, resulting in a peek or a fleeting impression into how or what they are really feeling. It is a momentary glimpse of their reality. That’s when I start to feel I am being empathetic.

The good news is – empathy is something that can be learned.

Active or deep listening and asking powerful questions helps us to develop an understanding of another persons situation and in turn develops empathy. As you seek to understand another person, simple responses are very often the most powerful and meaningful ways to help.

Try walking in another’s shoes today, go on give it a go!

Touched

The energy in the room was high. Then in a reflective moment one participant shared “I can relate to that” and tears started to flow freely.

The atmosphere changed.

We had already created a safe environment for sharing that day, but the authenticity in the room soared to a different level. Attentively, everyone focused on the personal story being shared. It was a moment of high emotion and an intimate turning point in the workshop. In opening up in such a manner the participant had taken a great risk in approaching a vulnerable area in their life by sharing it so deeply. The silence was palpable.

Unwittingly, by speaking so candidly and tenderly, the participant had completely engaged everyone in the room.

Then it happened.

I watched, as those on either side felt impressed to reach out in a compassionate and reassuring way by physically touching our storyteller.

The whole experience had a profound effect on all of us in the room. There was a feeling of connection, togetherness and unity for a fleeting moment in time.

Deep and meaningful learning moments come quite unexpectedly at times. When they do, don’t be afraid to welcome them, gently explore them, embrace them and cherish them….forever.

Can you reach out and touch someone today?

Empathy

Empathy is the “capacity to understand or share the feelings of another person – that is, the capacity to place oneself in another’s position.”

Recently – in many of the workshops that I have facilitated, empathy has been a frequent topic of discussion in the room.  As a coach and counsellor, it has struck me that empathy is looking on the heart, to seek a deep understanding of the feelings of others. I’ll often ask myself “Where am I listening from?”

Elaine Walton observed – “Because of our unique set of personal experiences, we have been conditioned to look at people from different perspectives. We could all be looking at the same person. Some of us would see the background. Others would see the clothing the person is wearing. And some would notice the facial expression and imagine what the person might be thinking or feeling.”

I have come to understand that I cannot help another person, unless I can recognise how they feel. I have also learned that empathy is important for everyone, not just professional coaches like me. It is a vital ingredient for all positive interpersonal relationships. If we couldn’t at least imagine what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes, we wouldn’t be able to connect; we would live our lives in isolation.

Five tips for greater empathy –

1. Set aside your own point of view
2. Actively listen
3. Ask yourself – what would you do?
4. Serve others more often
5. Be non-judgemental

How can empathy help you build relationships?