It is going to take me a long time to list all the situations where rapport or different social techniques are used to connect you and a communication partner. In several articles I will attempt to make a quick transition through a few constructs and terms which I found important to me and my work.
1 : relation characterized by harmony, conformity, accord, or affinity2 : confidence of a subject in the operator (as in hypnotism, psychotherapy, or mental testing) with willingness to cooperate is establishment of a firm rapport—C. A. H. Watts>
This is the medical definition of rapport in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary. In the beginning it may seem confusing, as it is in no way a rigid construct that you can track and measure. I hope some examples will help. Also, a few other terms will come into play later on.
In the context of my job, I think I’m dealing with a variation of rapport. I am not having daily talks about the most personal aspect of my partners’ life, and so my need to establish a connection with them stretches only to the point where I need to know how they go about their business. Not always successfully, of course, but given that both of us have a common goal, it is somewhat easier than what therapists deal with. Agreed, professional goals often are derivatives of a person’s intimate desires, but they are also a byproduct of skills and circumstances – and this is where a connection is need to find out if the presented opinions and aspirations are not solely advertisements.
There are many techniques to help you build strong connection, but I will write about some observations later on. I think the advantages of having a good rapport with your client/partner are obvious – you have a context, from which you derive validation about the information being exchanged. So far so good. But if you think about how our work processes are structured in a corporation or a larger company, maybe it doesn’t always pay dividends to have this.
Knowing the context and the person as a colleague allows you to gather more information, which is not directly rooted in the message itself. This can prove to be harmful to growth targets or effective negotiations, so this is how we come to key points of contact being changed and partners being switched periodically. Going back to recruitment, we meet another goal through not always having a fully established rapport – appearing objective to candidates. Said another way, if you talk to 3 people and they all give affirmations about how nice a social benefit or a project is, you’re more likely to accept this as a fact. Since recruiters don’t always have the full picture, or understanding of the project’s scope, we usually aim to be knowledgeable and authoritative in a very short time frame, while keeping the door open for the next person in line, usually a direct manager. This approach backfires now and then, and I’ve experimented to a degree with what I am good at.
Before I manage to write that all here, would you care to share your experience with building positive or negative rapport with a recruiter? Please do so in the comments.