Welcome to part 2! In this part, we will dive deeper in the Non-Verbal Communication (NVC) and how you can leverage this to build rapport with someone. NVC is one of the three parts I consider necessary to build rapport. As a matter of fact, this might even be the most important one. You can say all the right words but your body language will tell you if you believe in your own words.
First of all, let me start by repeating one mnemonic I used in the previous post. I’m talking about ARA which stands for Attention, Respect and Adaptation. Every technique you’ll learn about building rapport won’t be worth anything if you don’t remember ARA. Attention and respect are necessary before you can move on to using techniques to create rapport.
Your physical posture can literally make it or break it. Unconsciously, we have been practising this since we were born. We sometimes feel when someone isn’t telling the truth. We feel when someone is not trustworthy. Where do these feelings come from? They come from the microexpressions your face make to the parts of your body that are visible. Our brain unconsciously registers this and gives you the thought that something might be wrong. Then there are the people you feel comfortable with even though you haven’t said anything to each other yet. Where does this come from?
It could be someone that moves the same way that we do. Laughs the same way, breaths the same way or just stands the same way. Once again this is because we are drawn to what’s similar and fear what’s different. So if we like what’s similar with non-verbal communication what if would do this intentionally? What if would intentionally move the way someone else does? Sit the way someone does? Breathe the way they do? And you might wonder doesn’t everybody breathe the same way? Well, I don’t know about you but I have certainly had moments in my life when I thought that someone else his breath was quite annoying because it was so loud.
Using the same physical movements or attitudes as someone else is referred to as mirroring. Yes, just as you can mirror someone verbally, you can also mirror someone physically. This is one of the greatest methods to build rapport unconsciously. But be aware! You might take the same attitude someone has but once they start to discover you are actively mirroring them, it will break rapport. Therefore, there are several methods to mirror someone physically. I’ll discuss them now.
Mirroring is the process of mirroring someone’s attitude in almost an identical way. As stated above, whenever someone detects you’re doing this intentionally it will break rapport. Therefore, there is also a technique called matching. With matching you intentionally match one aspect of someone’s presence. This can be breathing, tonality, voice speed or a specific part of the body. So instead of mirroring the whole picture you could mirror crossing your legs. Or only focus on matching someone’s breathing pattern.
With cross-over matching, you don’t mirror someone’s movements. You match the moment they change their posture. You wait until someone switches the crossing of his legs and at that very moment you also lean to the other side. It’s not a reflection of someone’s posture, you just move at the same time. Cross-over matching is more subtle than mirroring.
So should you be mirroring or matching someone’s posture all the time? No, I would recommend this. It’s good to let it go at one point. This will show that you don’t follow someone’s pace all the time. So whenever you feel like you’re in rapport with someone are there still things you can do to keep that connection? Most definitely.
I bet we all know the picture above. It’s one of da Vinci’s famous creations. A rule of thumb I keep in mind while being aware of my posture is the following.
The more critical parts of my body I expose without protecting it, the more trust I build with someone else.
What this is means is that the more I expose my heart area, throat area, stomach area, and wrists, the better it is. A side note here is that this might sound like you have to sit in your chair looking like a robot. This is not the case. It’s better to sit asymmetrically than completely straight without movement.
There’s more than meets the eye
Last but not least I want to touch one other part while trying to build rapport. The way we use our eyes says more than a thousand words. One thing that really impacted me while I learned about this was a story about the ancient Rome empire. It was a short story about how slaves weren’t allowed to look their masters in the eyes at certain times. How ridiculous as this sounds, this emphasized the power of human connection through a gaze for me. Just by looking people in the eye, you convey a lot subconsciously. Now don’t hold an eye gaze game with everyone. Just try to look people in the eyes longer than usual. Check with yourself till what point it feels comfortable and start adding little bits of time to it. If you feel very confident at one point to keep looking people in the eye I would suggest the following. Whenever one of you don’t look away, try to blink at least every 7 seconds. This will make sure it’s not a rivalry about dominance.
That’s it for this week! I hope you enjoyed this post. Feel free to share it, email it or subscribe to the newsletter. Next week we’ll dive into the mindset when building rapport!