How To Develop Rapport And Influence People

What Exactly Is Rapport?

Rapport is the most important process in influencing others. It is vital if you want to maintain relationships. Without it, you are unlikely to achieve willing agreement to what you want. People who have excellent rapport with others create harmonious relationships based on trust and understanding of mutual needs.

Rapport is the cornerstone of all mutually effective relationships. It needs constant vigilance to keep it alive and effective.

Why Is It So Important?

Rapport is similar to money – when you are short of it, it increases in importance. Without rapport you will reduce your chances of getting:

• Unconditional agreement to your ideas and suggestions

• Full commitment from others

• Business, promotion, fiends

The way in which you interact with others has a major bearing on your success as an influencer.

Being in rapport means that you are in agreement with others both verbally and non-verbally.

Ten Good Reasons To Build Rapport

• To really win friends and influence people

• To connect rapidly with a wide range of people

• To communicate magically

• To build solid, lasting relationships

• To create incredible results

• To help others improve performance and increase success

• To handle conflict

• To get promotion

• To talk your way in to things

• To talk your way out of things

A Recipe For Successful Influence








Something in common

Shared understanding


Mix together as required. Notice changes and be prepared to maintain a flexible approach throughout. Keep communication flowing on all levels.


Telling others how you feel and what you think and believe, as well as telling them about your background, is a kind of currency. Give out information and usually you will receive a lot back in return.

People swarm, flock and group together by type, background, interests, beliefs, gender, work and so on. And one of the most efficient ways to get close to one another is through self-disclosure.

As we begin to experience a powerful common bond, so too does rapport begin. Mutual interests, ideas, values and beliefs are the wrap and weft of social interaction.

Most people like people who are like themselves!

Biographic Matching

It is rare for two human beings to be together very long before seeking to discover similarities about themselves. This biographic matching can be social or economic, achieved through outlook, education or background – common experiences of the world.

When you match, you reduce resistance by playing down differences while building on similarities.


Once you are matching one another, you can continue to maintain the rhythm you have created by agreeing with one another, seeing things from the same point of view. Pacing is a conscious continuation of matching.

When talking, you can pace:

• Words that are used

• Tone of voice

• Language patterns

• Volume

• Body language used

Don’t overdo it – you may be accused of mimicry. Be elegant – your skills should remain unnoticed.


One of the goals of matching and pacing others is to be able effortlessly to lead them in another direction. Once you are deeply in sync with the other people, a change of pace from you will usually result in a similar change in others.

Matching and pacing help you share someone else’s experience and you will begin to know intuitively when it is appropriate to make suggestions, to influence, to lead.


You can also influence behaviour in others by mismatching. It is useful to mismatch when:

• You want a meeting to come to an end – clear up papers, put a pen away

• You want to conclude a telephone conversation – minimise responses.

• You need time to think before acting – use the bathroom, make a telephone call, add up figures on your calculator.

• What you are doing isn’t working – go for a walk, listen to some music, make a phone call.

• Matching is affecting your mood negatively – break off the conversation, change the subject.


Have you noticed how some people seem to be universally liked, trusted and respected? Chances are that they’re also good at networking – developing a wide network of friends, colleagues, allies and useful contacts.

Networking offers you a structured way of making certain that your ideas are effectively exchanged with others.

And Finally: Networking In Action

How can you get to know your team, other managers and clients better? Are there management associations you could join, luncheon clubs, your local Chamber of Commerce?

Organise team events outside working hours. Be seen at functions, offer to assist whenever you can.

Make yourself known – don’t stand on the edge looking in. Be part of the action.

Copyright © 2006 Jonathan Farrington. All rights reserved