Why do we end some calls in a few seconds but continue other conversations for over 10 minutes?
It is not about the product or service they’re selling but how the caller initiates the conversation. It’s all about whether they’re building rapport with you.
Rapport is the fundamental prerequisite for all effective communication. We can all remember situations where we had an excellent rapport with a client or colleague versus those that didn’t work so well.
How to build rapport at work
The working relationships that we develop are integral to what we accomplish professionally. Building trust and positive relationships with our team members are some of the most important things contributing to professional success.
A strong rapport between colleagues is good for team building, effective teamwork, employee engagement, productivity, and business success. But it requires effort and attention daily.
How to build rapport with colleagues
Find common ground – don’t fake an interest in something you don’t care about, but strong relationships build on some commonality of mindset, approach, or experience.
Have a genuine interest in what they’re talking and saying. That doesn’t mean agreeing with everything they say but finding a topic in which you have a shared interest.
Hone your listening skills. Good relationships involve two-way conversations. It’s natural to contribute your thoughts or experiences, but ensure you make space for your colleague to speak while actively listening.
Be prepared to share. If you want to learn something from someone or even initiate a professional relationship, you need to give something of yourself. Be ready to share some previous experiences to build trust and that all-important rapport with new colleagues. It is particularly appropriate when you need to break the ice with a new team.
How to build employee relationships
Take time to establish trust – to be trusted; you need to learn to trust your employee. Empower your employees and see how they grow, and respect them for it.
Schedule time to develop good working relationships – block that one-to-one meeting with direct reports, make time for talking, and, importantly, active listening.
Open up – people are encouraged to bring their ‘whole self’ to work, which means taking an interest in their personal life and sharing some of your own.
Start as you mean to go on – set the template for your working relationship from day one with new employees. Establish a routine of talking to them, making eye contact, and listening to what they say from the first time they work with you in their new job.
How to build rapport with a remote team
The work environment is changing, and this can mean colleagues work as a fully remote team or a hybrid model, with some days in the office and others at home or elsewhere. Talking over video retains connection, but it can affect communication skills. It’s harder to pick up on signs of body language when you’re not face-to-face, for example.
Working remotely can be harder to feel part of a team (especially as a new employee). Daily video calls help with this, as do regular check-in calls. Whether sitting next to each other in the office or speaking over a video call, good rapport comes from establishing one-to-one working relationships, building trust, and spending time together.
Establish some of the rituals that you’d have in the physical workspace. Say hello and goodbye at the start and end of the day. Enquire about their well-being. Have a coffee together and engage in a conversation. Acts like this will help with staff retention and employee engagement.
Ways to achieve rapport
The most effective communication that professionals gain rapport is by matching non-verbal behavior.
Body language: mirroring and matching
When you’re meeting a client, try to match their posture. If they move their head to one side, you can follow the same but in a way that doesn’t appear like you’re mocking them. Adjust your body to match your posture.
The tone and tempo of their voice or facial expression are some other mannerisms you can try to match.
In most conversations, we sit on the opposite side of the table. However, sitting next to each other will improve verbal expressions, positively impacting the conversation.
We’re all playing the role of a salesperson wanting to engage with the other person. We must be consciously aware of this and make it part of our muscle memory.
Contact our knowledgeable team to find out more about rapport building.