Leading with Rapport

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Leading Your Team Series

Have you ever been in a conversation where one side dominates, and everyone else is left just listening? Now think back to a great discussion in the last few weeks. Chances are it included a lot of back and forth and an enjoyable discourse.

Communication is the heart of our being. It is at every level of our life, from internal dialog to family, to friends, to the workplace.

If you are a business owner, developing your communication skills is vital to lead your team. That is because developing rapport is what drives agreement and unity.

So, what is rapport? 

rap·port

a friendly, harmonious relationship.

especiallya relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rapport

Thus, in essence, building rapport is the development of a relationship with another person and connecting, so you have the foundation to engage in further communications. This is critical for developing projects which achieve results together.

Rapport should never be thought of as something you do “to” someone. Instead, it is the process of communicating and creating an environment where both sides feel they are participants in the conversation.

Whether your building rapport with a new client or a new employee, focus on creating a connection. Not every conversation will go well, and it is even more difficult when the conversation is only a few minutes long, but practice developing rapport. This will significantly grow your leadership skills and people will notice.

So, what are some of the techniques to build rapport?

  • Do engage in active listening.
  • Don’t overwhelm the conversation.
  • Do pay attention to their body language and carry yourself in a similar fashion (mirroring).
  • Don’t let your body language send the wrong signal (crossed arms, turned away from them).
  • Do ask questions.
  • Don’t anticipate your next response to their comment.
  • Do engage in eye contact.
  • Don’t be looking at your phone or your watch.

Conversations are meant to be two-sided. In today’s day and age, it is easy to get caught up in the beeps from your watch, the pings from your phone, or even just the world passing in HD.

It is important to remember that if you want to be a good leader, you should practice developing rapport with your team, your clients, your colleagues, your family, and everyone else you connect with daily. Just like an athlete works their muscles daily, work your skills to improve and hone so you can be a leader worth following.

Kristen David, a former trial lawyer and partner who went from working 85 hours a week and taking home way too little money in her law firm, built it up to a million-dollar-plus business, then sold her shares and pivoted into a business coach guru. She is now an international speaker, bestselling author, and operates a successful business, empowering business owners to build thriving, profitable businesses that are self-managed with systems. She helps busy business owners build those systems by implementing policies and procedures the Fast Track Way.

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