Creating and Building Rapport with NLP

NLP techniques - NLP secret

How to build it and break it

You may wonder why building rapport is so important. Sometimes when you meet a person for the first time you know instantly that this is the sort of man or woman you can do business with.

For most women, the language of conversation is primarily a language of rapport: a way of establishing communications and negotiating relationships.

Deborah Tannen

Everything you say or do seems to click and you just feel delighted to know the other person. 

You may have walked away afterwards and said something like, "We got on like a house on fire from the first words we spoke.

You have, I know, also had the completely opposite experience. It seems as if you are talking to a brick wall. 

The other person seems to have just a flicker, or no interest at all, in what you have to convey. Even if you stood there all day, you are convinced that you would make no progress. 

Of course, it may be the other way round. Perhaps you are the immovable object. We are not good at building rapport with them. 

We think of people as easy or difficult to get along with, but it is much more likely that we just haven’t taken the time or trouble communicate with each other properly. We have all been there and it will happen again. 

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming


What is building rapport? The rapport definition

In these situations what we lack with each other is what in NLP is known as rapport. So NLP helps us to look for common signs so that we can see where we have an opportunity of building rapport with one another and to build upon that.

Why do we need to create rapport?

There are countless instances in our private and business lives where we need to begin creating rapport. It can be so useful to become confident at rapport building

Perhaps you are attending a job interview, hoping to make a sale to a customer or wishing to create an impression with a member of the opposite sex. 

What can you do to send the right signals to the other to show you are on the right wavelength? 

Rapport techniques - How to gain rapport

Without openly mimicking, match the other person’s style of speech, energy and gesture. 

If he is speaking quickly, try to speak at the same sort of speed for a while, and then gradually slow down to see if his speech matches yours. Match his breathing pattern. 

This is known as matching and mirroring. I cannot stress strongly enough though, be very careful not to mimic or you will get the opposite result to that which you want.

To be successful in building rapport you need to listen and listen, observe and observe. Be very patient before advancing your own viewpoint. 

Breaking rapport

Sometimes you will feel the need to break rapport with someone. What NLP calls mismatching. Perhaps you will need to move away or break eye contact. 

The way you move your eyes is often a very good way to break rapport. You may even need to avert your eyes altogether. 

You may instead change the tone of your voice. A sudden deepening of the voice may change the whole character of a conversation.

Again, practising breaking rapport is a skill worth cultivating because there are many situations when you will need to be able to do it without causing offence. 

Sometimes people just want to talk but you need to get on and building rapport and maintaining it is the last thing you need. 

The need for caution when creating rapport

Be careful how you use the words “and” and “but” in a sentence. “But” so often sends the conversation in a negative direction. 

Fine, if you wish to do that, but consider trying “and” and noting what happens. It is a game you can play with members of your family. 


Remember: be adaptable. Listen carefully to the other person’s point of view and imagine working from his position before considering your own. 

Imagine stepping outside of the two of you, standing across the room but listening to what you are each saying. 

What might you think if you were a completely neutral observer? Does that now change your approach to the problem? 

NLP or common sense?

Much of this about creating rapport you will say is common sense. So it is.

But NLP helps us to concentrate on the issues, it gives us techniques to assist us, and reminds us of the need to examine our relationships from all angles. 

Building rapport is just another aspect of that.

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