By Shawn McQueen, Mentor for Two-Brain Group Coaching Course
This is the third installment of our series that is intended to help you be more effective communicators. If you missed part 2, check it out here: Two Easy Steps to Better Communication.
The foundation for lasting communication is creating, and then deepening, rapport.
I like to think of rapport as a relationship of responsiveness, where we care for one another’s thoughts, feelings, and what you’re actually saying.
A great deal of research has been done on what causes people to connect.
We can even improve our connections right away before we open our mouth, non-verbally! Or HOW we use our voice.
Well first, how do you normally establish rapport?
I’m sure you are saying, “Well of course Shawn, but what specific questions?“
- What do you do for work?
- What are some of your hobbies?
- How’s your day going?
Is it possible to ask these questions and still not get rapport?
Absolutely. Questions by themselves are not enough.
The purpose of the questions is to find something in common.
The questions are merely a tool.
Once we connect something in common, what we call a ‘commonality’ at Two-Brain Coaching, there is an energy exchange, a connection with the other person.
Remember this: people like people who are like them OR how they want to be.
Take a moment to think of a person you like a lot. Do you like them because they are like you or how you want to be?
When people are not like each other, the natural tendency is to not like each other.
Think of someone you do not like, or care to spend the least amount of time possible with.
Why is that?
Is it that this person is not like you or how you want to be?
(I’m not suggesting if someone is different from you, you cannot have rapport. Absolutely not. It just means the less rapport you will have.)
So, how do we break through and connect? Matching & mirroring.
First, we need to know and understand some numbers:
- 7% of words influence others. That’s it.
- 38% voice qualities influence others. Like your tone, your tempo, even your certainty within what you’re saying.
[our brains can sense belief, or lack thereof, in what you’re saying.]
- 55% physiology influences others…also known as how you use your body.
So now knowing this information, we need to learn to use our voice and body in an effective way.
We can dramatically increase our rapport with anyone by doing this:
Become like the person you are with.
What aspects of voice could we mirror?
- Tonality – take on the same tone of voice of the other person.
- Tempo (are they a fast, medium, slow talker?)
- Volume (are they loud, quiet or in-between?)
- Repeat back ‘key words’ that are used often.
What about their physiology could we mirror?
- Align or mirror back body positions
- Speed of movement
- Facial expressions
- Match breathing pattern
- Proximity (distance, closeness)
Remember this isn’t to be disingenuous or some form of trickery, far from it.
It’s to truly connect. Intent matters, immensely.
Your awareness around what you’re doing or trying to do when you begin to implement these skills can make you feel like you almost shouldn’t be doing it. It can feel unnatural initially.
Two people in the greatest of rapports NATURALLY sync up in these areas!
Watch for it now. It will ring obvious to you now that you know.
Here are a couple of action steps for you to put this into practice:
- Practice the skill of mirroring physiology. How they are using their body. Remember 55% of influence and rapport happens here.
- Next, practice matching voice qualities (tonality, tone, volume, talking speed etc.)
We’ll jump into asking better questions and learning how to listen with intent.