Build Rapport & Breeze Through Meetings!

Did you know that you could establish a rapport with anyone, a friend or a stranger, at any time? Being on the same page with someone and interacting with them in a respectful and friendly manner are the fundamentals of developing a relationship. Some of you may be thinking if I’ve lost my mind, but you can develop rapport even if you don’t truly share their opinions and even if you don’t speak to them directly. The 97 billion neurons in our brains, which are capable of forming over 15000 connections, have shown me the power of the mind.

Neurons are excitable cells which chemically transmit electrical signals through connections called synapses. There is a consensus that there are roughly about 100 billion neurons total in the human brain. Each of these neurons can have up to 15,000 connections with other neurons via synapses.


Hanging from a branch of the tree a monkey sees another monkey down below breaking a peanut shell, the experience of the monkey breaking the peanut and the one observing is same. Research shows that in their brain the same set of neurons light up and confirm that both feel the same and that really explains the old adage, “monkey see, monkey do. But is it true for humans as well? Even though apes and monkeys are our cousins with 1.36 billion neurons, we evolved in the past 60 million years. Yet this phenomenon has been observed in sapiens as well . Recently, evidence from functional neuroimaging strongly suggests that humans have similar mirror neurons systems: researchers have identified brain regions which respond during both action and observation of action. Mirror neurons get fired when we see something similar to us, we gravitate and even imitate until there is a pattern break of some sort.

Mirror neurons also explain how empathy works. When lovers are in sync with each other their body language, actions, words and even breath matches. And people love their chemistry, isn’t it? They are in rapport. We can build rapport with strangers or anyone for that matter with simple understanding of the way our brain works.

RAPPORT- Really All People Prefer Others Resembling Themselves!

Do You Want To Build Strong & Dependable Relationships?

Do you want to establish credibility?

Do you want to LEAD BETTER?

Do you Want to Have Win-WIN Negotiations?

Do you want to win that date?

Do you want to improve your relationships & communicate well?

Three O’s To Check Before Building Rapport With Someone –

Outcome – Know the “why” before building rapport with anyone. This helps you in overcoming the little ego driven obstacles that comes to the fore when opening ourselves to include others.

Observe – Pause and observe the subtle body language, expressions , gesture and posture of the one you intend to build rapport with. Listen actively so you know the words they emphasise, the modalities and sub modalities which is understanding of the sensory language they use. If visual they use words like looks, appears, seems like and so on. If auditory they use words like I hear you, louder , sounds like etc, people who are more kinaesthetic and feeling people use words like I feel, I experience, I am touched, it is doable etc and then there are people who are auditory digital or the thinking people who use words like I think, I judge, I check facts, I analyse, I interpret the situation as is, what are the pros and cons and so on . In depth study of NLP will also reveal the body language, eye movements and subtleties of each modality. For now observe and listen to them carefully.

Openness– Remaining open and flexible. Pacing first with the person before you lead.

Matching and mirroring the body language , connecting with their preferred language and use of words and even syncing the breathing rhythm helps. Micro movements like for example, a person is moving his fingers, you can mirror it subtly and move your own fingers in similar way or crossover mirroring where you could move your feet in the same rhythm as his finger. You can open up your arms and face them and be completely present to them. Eye contact is an important component besides tonality and other non-verbal cues.

  • Whole Body Matching- Postural Shifts
  • Body Part Matching – Consistent Stylistic Use of Body Movements
  • Half Body Matching
  • Head/Shoulders angle patterns
  • Vocal Qualities- Shifts in Tonality, Analog Marked (using their preferred words)
  • Verbal – Hear and utilise sensory predicates. 
  • Facial Expressions
  • Gestures
  • Repetitive Phrasing
  • Breathing
  • Indirect matching- crossover mirroring
Me building rapport with a group of students

Once rapport is established you will see that from pacing you can now lead the conversation and it will all happen in a very little time if done mindfully.

When mirror neurons fire together you become likeable. Building rapport or breaking rapport with a negative person also becomes easy when we know these subtle nuances of rapport building.

Rapport can be established in a group scenario too. I utilise the icebreaker time to set the pace and rapport and ensure we are in sync physiologically, verbally, and mentally. The relatability with me makes them open to the learning and I am met with least resistance.

To break rapport which sometimes becomes a necessity with certain people, a sudden movement or pattern break can help you come out of a conversation of which you do not intend to be a part of even when you have no choice to leave the table :D. As subtle as breaking the eye contact and shifting your shoulders outward can break a rapport.

Always stay aware of your outcome before building or breaking rapport.

Categories Friendship, NLPTags ,

4 thoughts on “Build Rapport & Breeze Through Meetings!

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