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
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.
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.
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.
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