NLP Rapport — The Importance of Connection


What is Rapport and how does it apply to my life? Rapport is the connection that is cultured between you and the people that you come in contact with. Rapport is the reason why you feel comfortable and trust some and lack of rapport is why you would feel unease and skepticism with others.

As a Hypnotist, NLP Practitioner or if you are working to have a defect relationship with your partner rapport is the most important ingredient to the mix. Rapport will make all the difference when it comes to effective communication. Why do businesses fail? Why do relationships fail? At the base level the reason for a system of interaction failing is a lack in communication. In a professional situation rapport will allow your client to trust you, so you can get into the business aspect with a common understanding. This is very important in the field of medicine and hypnotherapy. A patient that trusts you and puts his confidence in you will be ready to heal and when you tell them how they can go about this, they will believe you.

How does rapport work and how do I build rapport with another person? Rapport is a way to come into a direct understanding with a person's unconscious mind. To build rapport is to speak and act in such a way that the person or people you are interacting with begin to see a commonality in you. They begin to internally conclude that "This person is like me". It may become apparent that the people around you in your life are the people that have similar beliefs, interests, tastes, and status. When you look into your relationships on a degree level you may see that you are associating with people that are like you. On an unconscious level you are connecting with these people because you understand them as being familiar to you, they are like you.

What is the result of being out of rapport with someone? You can see lack of rapport on many levels. The act of fighting, verbally or physically, is the resulting action of being out of rapport. If you feel discomfort with a specific person you are not in rapport with this person. Also if you find yourself in the middle of an argument you are not in rapport at that moment.

One thing to note is the levels of rapport that exist. This means that there are some people such as family that you may always have some level of report with due to the length and nature of your social interaction. You must remember though that your level of rapport is constantly refreshing with the evolving flow of your life. You can not expect to be in rapport with someone because you have had rapport with them yesterday or last week. Rapport is an active process of connection.

There are several ways to build rapport with someone you are working or interacting with. There is rapport on the verbal level and there is rapport on the non-verbal physical level. You may begin to gain rapport with someone physically before the first word it spoken. It is important when building this connection with someone that you pay close attention to the person you are working with. Paying someone attention is rapport building in itself and you will see that a connection can be built surprisingly fast. To build rapport with someone verbally you will pay attention to the words they are speaking, the rate they are speaking, and the tone they are speaking with. You will begin by using their same words in your sentence structures, speaking at the same speed they are speaking, and using the same tone they are speaking with.

When a person is speaking to you the words they use are directly connected to internal representations. These representations are what are really being referred to when they are talking with you. If you spend time trying to figure out what the person is really saying you are taking an active role in trying to translate their words into your internal representations. This is a near impossibility in the fact that their life experience is not the same as your experience and your word representations are not going to match their. For example, if someone says to you "I had a bad day today, and I'm not too happy about it" and you say in return "Oh, sounds like your are depressed" would not say that I am depressed, I'm just not happy. " At that moment you are in disagreement about an internal representation, your version of "not happy" is not their version of "not happy". It may seem that this had no effect, but on an unconscious level this disparity was noted, and an unconditional statement may have just occurred along the lines of "Does this person really understand me? Maybe they are not like me". If you respond with "Oh, you had a bad day and you're not happy" even though it might sound ridiculous to repeat the same same phrase, you will find the person in agreement, and they will continue the interaction. It is important to remember the connection you are building is on an unconscious level and when you are referring to the same words of their internal representations the conscious mind translates this into understanding and connection.

The rate someone is speaking at the moment is an external expression of the rate they understand in that moment. To speak at this same rate is a direct compliment to their thinking process and the perfect rate for them to be in full comprehension of what you are communicating. Keep in mind that the brain is moving through many states through the day. During the alert waking state a person's brain is moving anywhere from 13 Hz — 40 Hz. For the purposes of this article these states translate into your understanding that the rate of speech being communicating is due to their current brain state. You need to be attentive to their speech rate because their brain state is going to be changing during your conversation and you need to be following this state and matching it.

The tone someone is using carries a lot of the meaning of what is really being spoken. Tone is the emotional element to speech. So when you are speaking in this interaction using the same words, the same rate, and the same tone, you are sounding a lot like this person. When processing this unconsciously the person will see a great resemblance in you. As you match tone allow yourself to go into the emotional state of the tone, your tone needs to be genuine.

The Next, and most important, aspect to building rapport is the physical connection. To build a physical rapport with someone you will be matching the person. What is matching a person? You will be taking note of the person's breathing rhythm, their posture, hand movements, and their gaze. As you take note of the person's breathing beginning to alter your own breathing to match their. When they take a breath you are taking a breath and when you exhale you are exhaling as well. Notice how the person has positioned their body. You can begin to shift your body in a similar pose as they are. Do this subtly so they do not wonder what you are doing, but do this smoothly and intuitively. You do not need to match every move that they doing. This would look like some type or pseudo-charades and probably cause the person to question your sanity instead of them beginning to trust you deeply. Take note when the person is talking about specific things where they point and move their hands, when you engage in talking about the same matter in return, point and move in the same direction that they had. Also notice, when they are speaking, where they look when talking of certain topics, events, or things. You will look in the same direction when speaking of the same subject matter.

When you are matching physical behaviors and verbal contacts that your client, or any person, is using you are building rapport. You will notice that the rapport is being built by the subject matter and continuity of the conversation. You will also know that the person is in rapport as you change your rate of speech they will follow, as you change your body position they will change their.

The ability to gain rapport with someone quickly and naturally is very important to continue interaction and gain comfort and trust from a person. When working with any patient or client keep these points in mind in that they will allow for the client to trust you with some of the deep issues that are the reason that they are there to see you. You may be wasting your valuable time with a client if the true hurtful cause of their current undesirable state does not come up until session ten. If you want to have that trust and comfort immediately give the client the attention they deserve and allow yourself to experience their world. Experiencing the client's world will also allow you to unconsciously learn about their situation which may lead you into insights about how to overcome their problems and give you an understanding and compassion for what they are going through.

Jacob McDonald