Rapport and communication

Rapport starts with effective communication

We already discussed why rapport is useful, but we haven’t yet touched the topic of how this process goes. When you dive into the pool of sales articles out there you will undoubtedly come across those who advertise rapid influence over others. Dale Carnegie gave an example in one of his books how winning friends can mean starting with hand-written letters and taking a keen interest in personalities and those small peculiar idiosyncrasies. Europe and the East have a very diverse set of traditions, but that’s not the point – the difference we are looking at now is ‘digital’ rapport.

Coming back to the rapid techniques, of course it is possible to influence someone upon first meeting them, but I am far from capable to make an overview of all the circumstances which need to be right for this. The suit alone doesn’t go all the way.

We take a lot of time in psychology to assess the process of communicating and gathering feedback or information, which will then help you develop a conversation. A full one would always procures the opportunity to share your opinion or advice, so it is influence in a pure form. The research of human communication has shown that we should be aware of a few key obstacles:

  • interpretation;
  • generalisation;
  • distorted perception, or partial acceptance of information.

This is to say, we need to be concerned not only with the message and the receiver (our communication partner), but also with ourselves and how we perceive the other person and the context of our interaction. Even if you aim to have a startling effect with your message, this is still better achieved through a strategy and not through impulsive decisions. I’m sure we will discuss these obstacles later in detail.

The famous iceberg

Uwe Gremmers, among many others in the field of training and consultation, has used the metaphor of an iceberg to illustrate how hard it can be to influence someone – regardless of if you are a recruiter, colleague, sales executive etc. This is due to the fact that as complex as we humans are, we are only showing the tip of the iceberg in our everyday life. Our core values and beliefs often remain hidden.

Iceberg metaphor

Iceberg metaphor

The metaphor has been used not only when it comes to rapport, but also for corporate/organizational culture. The main takeaway is that rapport is more like the entrance to the influence process. Over time, we interact with not only what a person says now, but also with what the person believes, and it may not always come from experience, it may also have a pinch of the irrational. So rapport, as discussed in the earlier article, establishes a base line for our interpretation and evaluation.






The image has been borrowed from Steps to Sustainability blog, all rights reserved.



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