RAPPORT MADE EASY
Here’s the secret to building rapport. Never mind Tony Robbins’s long-winded and over-complicated videos teaching NLP modalities like matching and mirroring. Go ahead and watch them but you won’t learn rapport that way.
Listen to me and you’ll do just enough of what some of those cover, but instinctively. Why? Because I’m not going to ask you to be mechanical or to be anything other than yourself. I will do is teach you how to adopt the kind of mindset you need which will make the rest of it come naturally.
Do you believe you can reinvent yourself if needed? Can you rise to a challenge if circumstances merit? And this: act as if and soon you are. Because it’s no more complicated than that.
Neither did I pull this out of my ass this morning. I have a long history of engaging with people and this has left me with an intuitive approach around others. I have also taught my technique to hundreds of people over the years, male and female and watched their success with people improve immediately. It is easy to learn once you know how.
And that is the thing: It is also unlikely I would have ever noticed these rapport factors if I weren’t forced by context to tease out its component parts so I could teach it. I ran door to door crews for most of my adult life. Well, at least the parts where I had a job… where I had an actual job. You get what I mean.
In a family of eleven, I was smack in the middle with four brothers and four sisters, and a mom and a dad. I went door to door as a kid in single digits looking for a job to earn a few dollars shovelling snow or mowing lawns and canvassed all the businesses up on Bank Street near my parents’ home looking for work. At eleven, I work the carnival, first sweeping floors in a midway restaurant for 12 hours per day, but eventually working a dime-pitch.
I started working door to door selling Maclean’s, Chatelaine and TV Guide for Maclean-Hunter in 1972. I’ve run sales crews and trained hundreds of reps on the finer points of sales and crew managing. I’ve worked retail in men’s clothes at several shops. I sold one of the first customer loyalty discount cards in the early 1980s using teams to the public and to businesses. I ran flower teams in Southern Ontario and BC until the late 1990s.
I sold energy to farms and businesses and manufacturers for three years until a few years ago.
Before that, I organized teams to sell subscriptions until newspapers were hurt badly by the move to digital, ending after 13 years as senior VP of Canada. I had up to 150 reps under me with 15 managers in 7 cities working for a dozen newspaper clients. And I have coached, counselled, and mentored people professionally for the better part of three decades.
I realized this was the key to it all by watching myself and then recording what worked and sharing that with my reps over the years. Through repetition, I was able to boil it down to two parts of the same factor. To apply it as I teach it requires you shed all neediness and insecurity and expectations. You will soon see why.
The secret to building INSTANT RAPPORT with people is to treat them AS IF you have ALWAYS known them while assuming YOU ALWAYS WILL. That’s it. But you must believe it to pull it off because it’s no small thing.
Come from THAT place inside you. Do not give yourself a moment to think anything or anyway else. When you look into their eyes, you see someone familiar. You see their history, and you see them yesterday and today and tomorrow and long into the future by just glancing at their face. They must see this in your eyes in return. They must.
That is a critical factor: authenticity. Sweep your side of the street. Be pure of heart. Your words and affect and body language must be congruent. Failure to be real instils distrust.
You have people in your life you have always known. Perhaps it’s siblings, parents, children, long-time friends. What does it feel like to interact with them? Easy? Good. Make it exactly like that with everyone. No exceptions.
Would you hide yourself from your brothers or sisters, or from your mother or your father, or from someone you had worked with for many years? No. You would be natural and easy-going and even vulnerable and open. Your life before them would be an open book, and because of this, more often than not they respond in kind.
It’s the key to human interaction, to something called the social engagement system. When we meet someone or feel under stress, the ventral vagus connecting the brainstem to the heart and lungs and the trigeminal (tri-facial) nerve is activated. We look to people’s faces for signs of acceptance and especially, for reassurance.
In fact, all arguments between people have this at their crux. One or both feel unsafe and want reassurance and is not or are not getting it. All those fights you had with your girlfriend were because you or she needed reassurance. Are you there? Are you with me? This is how human beings attach to each other. Same for women or men or old or young.
Wherever I go, missus is always surprised how people respond to me. If I’m left alone with someone, she expects I will know something personal about the individual, sometimes in minutes. It’s just because I treat people like I have always known them and always will. And I assume the same about them. Because of that, they feel safe.
Can you use this for evil? You can but it’s hard. People’s sixth sense for safety is strong. Most can spot a fake (incongruency) a mile away. Others scare easily and take a bit more to warm to you.
Hold fast to the good in you.
To genuinely and openly treat people this way takes power. It takes love. It takes your masculine power and love—of which you have an abundance in reserve. Do not deny it from yourself or others, share it with the world. A man who uses his power in service of himself and others finds meaning and freedom.
Part of that freedom is being able to talk to anyone at any time in any circumstances. It’s a little less pain in a world built for suffering.
Warren Bennis (1925-2014), a great American leadership scholar said “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it’s also that difficult.”
The simplicity is in self-acceptance. It is compassion for yourself which leads to compassion for others. It works the other way around too. When we love others, in no small way we love our self.
We are all perfectly imperfect souls.
Just do that, everywhere, always. Lead with power and love. No burned bridges, no unsaid or unfinished business. We are all brothers and sisters here folks: kin in the great human family. Can you use this for good?
Stay powerful, true and free…
Power & Love