NLP Rapport with Jimmy Petruzzi


NLP Rapport

with Jimmy Petruzzi


NLP rapport is the ability to relate to others in a way that creates a

climate of trust and understanding. It is the ability to see the other’s

point of view and get them to understand yours. You don’t have to

agree with their point of view or even like it. It makes any form of

communication easier.

Successful interactions depend largely on our ability to establish and

maintain rapport. Surprisingly, we make most business decisions

based on rapport rather than technical merit. You are more likely to

buy from, agree with, or support someone you can relate to than

someone you can’t.

NLP rapport techniques, like many other aspects of

NLP are quite

subtle but extremely powerful in their implications and effects.

Dictionaries define rapport as a relationship marked by harmony,

conformity, accord or affinity. It supports agreement, alignment,

likeness or similarity.

Emphasizing similarities

There are two ways to see other people. You can choose to emphasize

the differences or the similarities between you. You can always find

things you have in common with someone, even if it is just being

human. Likewise, there will always be differences between you and

another. Even clones would have different experiences.

If you emphasize the differences, you will find it hard to establish

rapport. By emphasizing commonalities, resistance and antagonism

will generally disappear, and cooperation will improve. With practice, it

becomes easy to find what we share with other people and focus on it.


NLP rapport is established and maintained by pacing. By definition,

this is the process of moving as the other person moves. Pacing or

matching accepts the other person’s behaviour and meets them in

their model of the world. It is about reducing the differences between

yourself and others at an unconscious level.


You can pace or match many different aspects of behaviour. Of course,

if the other person is aware you are matching their behaviour it

becomes mimicry. Obvious attempts to “copy” people will break

rapport. Successful pacing is at an unconscious level.

When rapport is established, you can influence the other person’s

behaviour. If you would like to know if you have rapport, you can

make a movement and find out if they follow you. For instance, you

might scratch your nose and see if the other person does the same.

What you can match

Matching is something we all do naturally in some contexts. Watch

what happens when someone talks to a small child. They might crouch

down to the child’s height, talk more slowly (or excitedly). Romantic

couples in restaurants often seem to be engaged in a dance, leaning

and smiling in mirror postures.


Body postures


You can adjust your whole body, half body or part of your body to

match the other. Matching typical poses that the other person offers

with their head and shoulders is useful. If the body posture is unusual

however, matching can seem disrespectful. Subtlety is vital.




You can match the rate of a person’s breathing, where they are

breathing (chest, abdomen or stomach) or how deep. This is not a

good technique if the person has difficulty with breathing, as you may

feel similar symptoms.




Matching the pace, volume, pitch, tone and type of words is a little

tricky to learn but worth it. Try watching a TV program in a foreign

language in order to notice these auditory processing distinctions. You

don’t have to try to match all these aspects. Choose one. If a person is

talking slowly, slow down. If they speak softly, drop your volume.


Beliefs and values


Authentically trying to understand another person’s beliefs and values

without judgment can create very deep rapport. Once again, you do

not have to agree with them or change any of your own values; the

goal is to understand.



Language patterns


Matching language patterns is a favourite NLP rapport technique with

sales and marketing people. By using the same words to describe

things and processes, the person feels understood.

Listen for their power words. We’ve often learned to paraphrase what

someone says rather than use the same words. We call it active

listening. This is mistake when it comes to NLP rapport. We attach

particular words to corresponding experiences. If someone says she

wants to be confident and you talk about her capability, you can miss

the rapport boat.


representational systems can be very powerful and subtle.

Has anyone had a conversation like this? “I just can’t see the big

picture here” “Well you need to read the instructions more carefully”

This is a mismatch of representational systems