Guest Article: Rev-Up Your Rapport

By Guest Writer Arnold Sanow

Arnold Sanow, MBA, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), is a speaker, trainer, coach, and facilitator. He is the author of 7 books to include, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere” and “Present with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz.” He was recently named by successful meetings magazine as one of the top 5 best “bang for the buck” speakers in the USA.  www.arnoldsanow.com  

Rapport is defined as “bringing agreement, harmony, and accord to a relationship.” Isn’t that what we want in our connections – to discover points of mutual interest or common ground, reach agreements, live and work together in harmony and enjoy interactions along the way- with more ease? Rapport is the magic ingredient for getting along with our customers, co-workers, colleagues, committee members, families, friends, neighbors and everyone else we encounter in any role, anywhere, anytime. Getting along means smoother sailing, fewer hassles, and more fun! 

The key to revving up rapport lies in expressing the same qualities that people find attractive. It’s a pleasure/pain principle in action. We move toward the people we like- those who are easy to get along with, who make us feel comfortable, who bring out our best qualities (including our smiles, laughter, and good feelings). 

In reverse, we move away from those who bring us discomfort- those with whom we find nothing in common, or who grate on our nerves, make us see red, hold up our plans, don’t meet our expectations, give us headaches, or provoke other negative responses. 

The relationships that bring us pleasure and good experiences are likely to endear as well as endure, generating fond memories, long-lasting impressions, and joyful feelings. In contrast, the relationships that bring us discomfort and cause negative experiences are likely to test our endurance; although their accompanying impressions, feelings, and memories may also last, we probably wish they wouldn’t.  

The ability to rev up your rapport is critical to creating enduring connections. Without it, you’re more likely to suffer the pain and stress of troubled relationships and disappointing connections. You may also miss out on wonderful opportunities and their power to transform. All are typical fallout from choosing a life of disconnection 

According to the book, “Get Along with Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere … 8 keys to creating enduring connections with customers, co-workers – even kids“, by Arnold Sanow and Sandra Strauss, here are vital traits you must focus on to rev up your rapport:

  • Authenticity 
  • Good communication skills 
  • Appreciation
  • Humor 
  • Compassion
  • Neat appearance 
  • Confidence
  • Positive attitude 
  • Engaging style
  • Social skills 
  • Enthusiasm
  • Respect 
  • Friendliness
  • Sincerity 

Conversely, here are traits that typically turn people off or turn them away:

  • Abrasiveness
  • Lack of humor 
  • Apathy
  • Negative attitude 
  • Coldness
  • Poor body language
  • Insensitivity
  • Poor communication skills 
  • Insincerity
  • Poor social skills 
  • Lack of appreciation
  • Profanity 
  • Lack of confidence
  • Rudeness 

Not only does rapport enhance your personal and professional relationships, but it can also boost your company’s bottom line. Communicating with insight, perception, and empathy strengthens your efforts to keep customers happy, gain and maintain trust, regain favor with disgruntled clients and customers and increase the likelihood of getting their repeat business and their referrals. Likewise, building good rapport with colleagues improves the quality of your working relationships, with corresponding impact on productivity, creativity, cooperation, morale, and overall job satisfaction. 

Here are five specific steps you can take to boost your rapport: 

  1. Call people by name. As Dale Carnegie stated in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” there is nothing more important to someone than their name”  
  1. Pay attention. When conversing with someone by phone or in-person, give them your full attention. Don’t get distracted by other people or tasks. 
  1. Don’t interrupt. When you interrupt someone, sensitivity, rapport, and commitment are killed. If there is one thing people hate, it’s being interrupted. 
  1. Treat others as special. To the extent that you treat someone as special and focus on their needs and concerns, they will immediately gravitate to you and want to deal with and work with you in the future. An excellent way to remember this concept is to greet every person you meet as if they were a long lost friend!  
  1. Be interested, not just entertaining. This is the key to popularity. Too many people end up talking all the time, dominating the conversation, and fail to have a two-way conversation. People love people who listen to them.  

As Norman Vincent Peale stated, “Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them.” 

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