Monday, April 18, 2022

Building Rapport

The ability to build rapport with others, especially coworkers, is important and not always an easy trait to learn. Not everyone is naturally comfortable with communicating with new people or people in authority for example.  Building rapport with everyone is a work skill that is desirable in every level of an organization.  Learning and practicing the following skills will assist in building rapport with others in the workplace and in day-to-day life.


Developing the skills to “read” someone’s body language is a trait that will improve communication and strengthen our emotional intelligence in the workplace.  Observing gestures like body posture, facial impressions, and spatial positioning can give clues to the communicator’s message. Start by watching others and attempt to “read” their message by looking at their body language.

Mirroring occurs when the two people communicating take the same stances and make the same gestures, mirroring each other’s body language.  Communicators that exhibit mirroring are usually very connected and have good social skills.

Asking Questions

One of the easiest ways to show someone that you are truly interested in them and their message is to ask questions.   The question does not need to be work-related; it can be about their favorite sports team, pet, family -- anything that interests that person and puts the focus on them. 

This is also a good way to become empathetic to the other person’s position or feelings.  Better understanding the situation, the way it made the person feel, etc. will allow you to better understand the other person and their emotions and reactions.  Building rapport and showing interest builds trust and a better relationship.


Often, we think we are listening, but are we really?  The term “active listening” is defined as listening in a way that encourages the speaker to communicate their message fully.  It also conveys to the speaker that the listener is correctly receiving the message. 

  • Ways to encourage the speaker can be:
  • Nodding of the head in understanding
  • Minimal words such as yes, mmm, and I see
  • Paraphrase the speaker’s message back
  • Reflect the feelings of the speaker back verbally
  • Finding Common Ground

One of the easiest ways to build rapport with someone else is to find common ground that each of you share.  This often opens conversations and makes communication possible.  When communication begins, then it can be continued.  Sharing common struggles at work often builds trust and a positive relationship. Finding common ground could be described as a type of empathy for the other person.  Sharing emotions builds a relationship that can be managed in a positive manner.

Until next time ...


Sheryl Tuchman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

No comments: