Last but not least, we’ll dive into the right mindset for building rapport. First of all, I’d like to emphasize that without Attention, Respect and Adaptation there is no rapport. Giving your full attention to someone while respecting his or her model of the world is a very powerful tool to build rapport. Adapting a little bit to someone else’s world will move mountains. If you want to lead, you must first learn to follow.

Perceptual positions

One great tool to learn how to look through the other glasses is using the right perceptual position. Learning to look through the eyes of one another, to feel what he does, to hear what he hears, will give you a better understanding of his point of view.

There are three main perceptual positions. The first perceptual position is looking through your own eyes. Feeling what I feel, hearing what I hear, seeing what I see. Being present with my thoughts by myself. Not worried about what other people think of me. It’s also called being associated with yourself.

The second perceptual position is being with your attention on the other person. You try to feel what he feels, what he hears and what he sees. This is great for empathy and building rapport. It’s a good way to follow someone else’s pace because you adapt to his model of the world. The second position is considered to be dissociated with yourself.

The third position is the meta position. It’s from an observer's point of view. You observe what happens during the conversation. You try to look at the present from above. This will give you an overview of what is happening in the current situation and if you need to change something. The third position is called being dissociated from both me and you.

Perceptual positions

Pacing and leading

Using the perceptual positions can help you to follow someone’s pace. To understand their point of view better. However, there is a slight disadvantage to using different perceptual positions. It costs a lot of energy, it’s tiring. Once I became aware of it, I noticed how often I am with my thoughts in the second position. I refer to the first position as being grounded. Being dissociated with either yourself in the second position or both me and you in the third position is adaptation. It’s adapting to someone else. And although this can help you greatly to build rapport it also leaks energy. The first position should be our base, our castle. It’s should be our safe haven where we can rest.

So how can we adapt if our dominant perception should be the first position? The answer is by using the second and third positions deliberately. It is key to follow someone else’s pace. Once there is rapport it’s perfectly fine to return back to your own base.

Wrap up

So that’s it. In this three-part series, I tried to give you some tools to build rapport with people. We’ve talked about verbal communication, non-verbal communication and in this post about the mindset while building rapport. It’s a lot to implement all at once so my suggestion is to focus on small parts of building rapport and slowly extend it. In the end, we can use all kinds of tricks but my main point stays the same. Listen with the intent to understand and you will greatly benefit from it. Along with a smile and all the techniques in these posts might not even be needed. However, it is interesting to try some of the techniques and see what works. You’ll notice that unconsciously we already use some of these techniques.

Go out there, try it, fail, discover, and see what works for you!