Rapport: The Magic Key To Persuasion

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When it comes to being influential with people, my good friend David Barron likes to say “inside of rapport, anything is possible… Outside of rapport little is possible.” While David goes into much more depth on Rapport in the Foundations of Persuasion, I wanted to spend some time on this topic today.

At some point we have all known what it means to have rapport with someone. Think of a person you have a close relationship with, now as you have this person in your mind, think of what it is that makes you so close. Perhaps you like the same music, you think the same way, you enjoy the same activities. This same-ness is a big part of rapport.

What is it?

So what is rapport? The American Heritage dictionary defines rapport as “Relationship, especially one of mutual trust or emotional affinity.” This is a good start, yet not enough to make rapport work for you.

In the world of NLP, creating rapport can be thought of as the establishment of trust, harmony and cooperation in a relationship. Once again the word trust appears in the definition. So you are beginning to realize that rapport leads to trust… and perhaps you are beginning to also notice how important rapport is to successfully being able to influence others.

The Power To Persuade

When it comes to persuasion, having great rapport with another can lead to a situation of unconditional acceptance of a suggestion. This is due to the trust level that comes with rapport. If there is trust, then they will be open to accepting what you have to say.

Think about how this works on you… if your best friend or spouse recommends something to you, you are much more likely to accept it, than were it to come from a complete stranger. By developing your rapport skills, you become that trusted person quickly, and thus what you suggest has much more power.

The Most Important Component

The first and most important thing to know about rapport is simple yet so often people leave this out. To be effective with rapport you must PAY ATTENTION! This means you must focus on the person in front of you. Notice this fellow human you are interacting with.

Rapport skills can easily fill up a full day seminar, but all the skills in the world will not work for you if you do not pay attention to the other person you are dealing with. This is a valuable skill for any kind of relationship, be they business, social, or family. If you pay attention all your relationship skills will be enhanced.

Matching & Mirroring

For reasons that go back thousands of years, we tend to like and trust people who are like us, who we feel that “same-ness” about. But the truth is we are not all the same. By studying what those qualities were that lead people to have those feelings, some methods to teach how to create rapport were discovered.

Matching & Mirroring were determined to be the prime factors to be able to create powerful states of rapport. Matching the other person’s movements, posture, vocal qualities, key phrases, and even their breathing. Also very powerful is to be able to match their representational systems. This is an advanced skill that is taught in the Act Now Success Skills seminar series.

Simple Matching

To begin your practice of creating rapport, begin to match the person you are speaking with. Simple matching of their gestures and posture. You will want to have a little lag time so they won’t notice. If you do it at the same time, it is like when you were a little kid and “aped” someone to annoy them. You will see this same effect as an adult. Not your desired outcome.

You can do this as if you were looking in a mirror, thus they move the right hand and you move your left, or you can do same side matching. If you are directly across from them, use mirroring. If you are more side to side, use same side matching. Once you have this down, then listen to the key words and phrases they use. Remember them and use them back in your speech.


Rapport is a fascinating topic and can lead you on a journey of discovery on understanding the people around you. There is much more to rapport than can be covered in this article. The best way to learn is experiential. Practice matching and mirroring and remember Pay Attention.

Craig Eubanks is an Author, Trainer, and Communication Skills Specialist and is one of the Founders of Act Now International LLC. Sign up for the FREE Success Skills Digest newsletter at the Act Now website. http://actnowllc.com/

Rapport: The Magic Key To Persuasion
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