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Myths and Truths About Creating Rapport


RAPPORT is an essential component of work life. There is constant social interaction and communication going on to achieve sales quotas, complete projects according to deadlines, negotiation of business deals and all sort of other business activities. Interaction and relating to others is inevitable and unavoidable.

How well an individual creates rapport not only influences the overtone of a business interaction, it also directly contributes to success and the desired outcome. Like it or not, the successful outcome of many business activities depends on rapport.

Since we cannot NOT communicate, why not ensure the presence of rapport during each interaction to make the conversation, discussion, negotiation or partnership more fruitful every time we speak.

Here are some myths and truths about rapport and communication:

Myth #1: Some people are just born to be great communicators and good at creating rapport. Either you have it, or you don't.

Great communication has been perceived as a behavior trait of a sociable, outgoing and extroverted personality. Hence, it is commonly perceived to be an inherent quality. On the other hand, those with more reserved dispositions or quieter personalities are naturally associated with less polished abilities to communicate well or create rapport.

Truth #1: Creating rapport is a skill. It can be learnt and acquired. Regardless of your personality and preferred style of communication, there are certain surefire techniques of creating rapport. Having eye contact during the course of a conversation is a good way to create rapport. Pepper the eye contact so that it is non-threatening and not overdone. Offer eye contact in moderation to give attention at a level that is comfortable.

Myth #2: A person who talks a lot is a great communicator and master at creating rapport.
If you talk about yourself a lot and enjoy holding and dominating a conversation, you may be surprised to find out the person at the other end of the conversation may feel the lack of rapport in the interaction. Don't be caught off guard with the feedback that the other person doesn't feel "listened to".

Truth #2: Listening to others is a key to creating rapport. You may come across as someone with a reserved disposition. A man or a woman of few words who prefers to let others take the driver's seat in a conversation. If you have these tendencies, creating rapport is well within your grasp. If you enjoy listening to others, you may well already be a master at creating rapport. Often your interest in others shows in powerful and non-verbal ways through giving your attention by lending your ear and the acknowledgement you give through your "Uhm..Hmm..." and "I see".

Myth #3: It feels strange for many people to consciously create rapport. Creating rapport may not be a natural thing for many people. Not just you. However no one can deny that working relationships and collaborations are enhanced significantly with rapport. Positive communication at the workplace offers many benefits beyond the tangible and immediate ones.

Truth #3: Practice makes perfect. Anyone can become a master of rapport. Creating rapport is similar to acquiring a new skill. Even though it doesn't come naturally, one will get better at it with consistent efforts and practice. Keep at it and you will become a master of rapport someday. Rapport encourages a flow of conversation and you may find yourself enjoying conversations more and making deeper connections.

A creature which has the ability to create rapport is the man's best friend i.e.. the dog. The next time you see your pet dog, remember you are looking at the perfect example of "a listening ear" and "heartmelting eye contact". The master of rapport.... Don't you agree?

The value one places on rapport will correspond with the emphasis or the presence of it in one's conversation. Time for a little self-evaluation. Are you known to have great rapport?

by Marilyn Chee.

Marilyn Chee is a freelance consultant who specializes in Life Coaching, Career Coaching, Self-Potential Optimization and Corporate Dynamics. For more information, email: leyichee@yahoo.com 

Check Workplace Communication Section for more communication tips at workplace.

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