How to develop good rapport

What do we mean by good rapport? You’ve heard about establishing rapport, but you may not have a clear understanding of what it is and why it’s important.

We’ll start there and then spend the rest of this guide going over how to establish rapport and use it to create friendships and good working relationships.

Let’s start with a definition. Here’s what Merriam-Webster says about “rapport”:

“a friendly, harmonious relationship; especially:  a relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy”

Or, to put it another way, rapport gives you that instant connection, a feeling that you already know the other person, start to trust them, and are ready to move forward, wherever that future relationship may take you.

Positive first contact

You’ve experienced this in the past, without realizing it or paying it a lot of attention. Maybe you got a new co-worker at the office and the two of you hit it off right away after finding that you have a hobby or interest in common. Maybe you’ve had a boss or teacher in the past who was easy to talk to and get along with from the start. These are examples of instant rapport with another person.

Once you’ve established rapport, it becomes easier to build a mutually beneficial relationship. That’s why it’s important to establish rapport in the first place. It gives you that instant connection that makes both of you feel like you’ve known each other for much longer than you have. This, in turn, creates trust and allows you to move on with whatever it is the two of you need to get done.


We also live in a complicated and fast-paced world, where speed matters. Being able to establish rapport quickly gives you a distinct advantage. It opens doors for you and helps you make the connections you need to make more easily.

In other words, being able to establish rapport quickly is a good skill to have. Let’s take a look at how you can do just that.

Quick connections

Now that you have a pretty good idea of why establishing report is important, let’s talk about how to do that. More importantly, let’s talk about how to do it quickly so you can move on with the rest of your day and start cultivating that relationship. You don’t want to spend a lot of time courting and convincing someone that you’re a nice and trustworthy person.

Establishing rapport quickly isn’t just about saving time. If you can’t make that crucial connection in the first few minutes, you risk losing the interest of the person you’re trying to win over, and that’s not good. Let’s get to work to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Be Open

Start with an open mind and attitude. This will go a long way towards helping you establish rapport quickly. It will influence not only your mind (and possibly your heart) but with it also your body language, something we will talk about more a little further on. Check your attitude if needed and make sure it’s open and inviting. If not, adjust as needed. Remember, your goal is to establish rapport.

Listen And Observe

Next, spend a little time listening and observing the other person, before approaching them. You can learn a lot this way that will come in handy in the next step. It may at first glance seem like a waste of time, but trust me, it isn’t. A little investigative work is one of the best things you can do.

Find Common Ground And Make A Connection

Use what you’ve learned through your observation or what you already know about the other person to find something that connects the two of you. It doesn’t matter how large or small it is. You need to find some common ground or something you both enjoy, to make a fast connection.

Your Voice And Your Body Language

Pay close attention to your voice and body language. Make sure your body signals that you’re open to meeting the other person and that you are trustworthy. That means making and keeping eye contact, and having an open posture. Don’t hunch over or cross your arms.

To give the other person a sense of connection, it helps to match your tone of voice and speech pattern to theirs.

Be Kind And Smile

Last but not least, don’t forget to be kind, put on your best smile, and simply be a pleasure to be around. We are attracted to friendly people and if you do your best to be one, meeting new people and establishing rapport will go that much smoother. Do your best to make it a genuine smile. We are all very good at picking out a fake one. Find something to like about the other person and the situation you’re in and focus on that. Your smile will become genuine and that’s a very attractive thing.

How To Keep Rapport Going And Move Into Lasting Relationships

You’ve established rapport with another person and the two of you clicked. You’re off to a great start, but at the end of the day, establishing rapport simply gets you a foot in the door. What you do from here to take advantage of that is up to you.

Your goal should be to keep that connection between the two of you strong and turn it into a lasting relationship that will serve you well for years to come. Let me share a couple of ideas with you for doing just that.

Stay in touch

Relationships have to be nurtured and at the very least that means that the two of you need to interact on occasion. Give the other person a call when you’re thinking about them, or simply to check in. Send a text message, stop by the house, or share a link to an interesting article on social media. In other words, put in the time and effort it takes to nurture the budding relationships.

Another great tip is to keep making it about them. At our core, we’re always interested in what’s in it for us and getting closer to our own goals is one of our biggest motivators. Use this to your advantage and keep strengthening your relationships with others by focusing on what’s in it for them. Yes, you’ll also accomplish your own goals along the way, but what you talk about and share should be about how it will help them.

Use names

Keep using their first name whenever you talk to them. There’s a lot of power in a first name and we love hearing it. It’s a great way to establish rapport, but also works wonders down the road. That’s why it’s so important to get into the habit of remembering people’s names. It makes them feel important and that you truly care about them.

Other ways to nurture relationships are to always be kind and friendly. Check your attitude if needed before you engage with people who are important to you. Being friendly and in a good mood (or at least appearing to be) will go a long way to open doors for you.

Give praise

Of course, a little praise or a gesture of appreciation never hurts. If you’ve made a new business contact that could have a big impact on your bottom line, don’t be shy about sending over a gift basket or the likes to show you care and are very interested in a mutually beneficial relationship. If you’ve made a new friend who shares a hobby, send a handwritten note to let them know how much you appreciate them and that you enjoyed the time you spent together.

Above all, treat those around you with honesty and respect. It may seem very old-fashioned, but there’s a reason it’s worked for thousands of years. These virtues instill trust in those around us and trust is the best basis for a long-lasting relationship in all areas of your life.

See also:

Test your body language skills
How to become a people person
Positive body language starts with a smile

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