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What Is Rapport? & How Do You Build It With Someone?

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Read Time: 9 min

Have you ever wondered how people can connect with others easily? Or why are employees at some places happily going to work? Building rapport is vital in life, especially in the workplace.

People talking to each other. People talking to each other. People talking to each other.
People talking to each other. (Image source: Envato Elements)

 If you oversee employees or a team, it's important to build rapport. Establishing rapport with your team or employees has many benefits. Are you wondering what does building rapport mean? Also, what is rapport?

Let’s discuss rapport, answer those questions, and go over the benefits of developing rapport with your coworkers.

What Is Rapport?

Rapport is a close and meaningful relationship between people. When you've got a report with someone, you like and trust them and understand their point of view. Rapport can appear instantly when you click someone, or it can develop over time. Rapport can happen naturally, or you can set out to intentionally build rapport.

5 Benefits of Building Rapport

Building rapport can be beneficial in your personal life and your work life. Here are five benefits of building rapport in the workplace:

1. More Engaged Team Members

More engaged team membersMore engaged team membersMore engaged team members
More engaged team members. (Image source: Envato Elements)

According to Gallup’s “State of the American Manager” report, only 30% of American workers and 35% of American managers are engaged at their jobs. This means that only 1 in 3 people are excited about going to their jobs.

A Gallup Workplace article explains an employee’s manager accounts for at least 70% of employee engagement. Plus, almost 50% of Americans that left their job did so because of their manager according to Inc.

You need to establish rapport with your employees. Or your team won’t be engaged at work and you risk losing workers. When you treat your team nicely and show interest in them, it shows them you care and establishes rapport with them.

2. Makes Others More Receptive to Feedback

Feedback is an essential way to praise your team's good work and motivate them. But feedback only works well if your employees listen to you.

This means that it's important to develop rapport with your team or employees. Once you’ve developed a rapport, your employees will listen to you and your feedback.

3. Builds Loyalty

Rapport with employees build loyalty.Rapport with employees build loyalty.Rapport with employees build loyalty.
Rapport with employees build loyalty. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Strong loyalty between you and your team or between your employees, and you mean that you've got a strong relationship with them. Establish rapport by finding out what issues they're dealing with and helping your team deal with those issues.

Take the time to find out your employee's wants and motivations. Once you’ve learned their motivations and wants, you’ll also know what drives them. By knowing what drives them, you can motivate them to stay engaged and loyal.

Learn more about employee loyalty in this tutorial:

4. Positive Work Environment

If you build a good rapport with your employees, then you’ll establish a better work environment. Not only does good rapport with your employees make a positive work environment, but it makes it more enjoyable for them to go to work.

If the employees feel like their work environment is bad, they won’t be loyal, productive, or want to work.

5. Gives Motivation

Rapport can motivate employees.Rapport can motivate employees.Rapport can motivate employees.
Rapport can motivate employees. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Building rapport also builds motivation. For some people, monetary bonuses to motivate people to work aren’t enough. If they don’t have rapport, they aren’t motivated.

If you've got no rapport with your employees, then a bonus is just an impersonal gift. Or worse, it's a random act. Show your employees that you care, and they'll be motivated to work hard and be loyal to you.

10 Tips on How to Build Rapport

Rapport is a two-way connection between people who trust each other. Here are some tips on how to start building rapport with your employees and coworkers:

1. First Impressions Matter

First impressionsFirst impressionsFirst impressions
First Impressions (Image source: Envato Elements)

When you’re meeting your employee, your appearance should help you connect with who you’re meeting with. It’s a good general rule to dress a little better than who you are going to meet.

If you arrive and are overdressed for the situation, quickly dress down to suit the situation. Try taking off your jacket. It can make people think that you’re snobby if you're overdressed, making it harder to establish rapport.

But if you’re underdressed, people may think that you’re not taking the situation seriously. So, they won’t take the situation seriously either.

2. Follow the Basics

There are standard basics of communication. These basics are essential when building rapport too:

  • smile
  • relax
  • remember people’s names
  • have good posture and hold your head high
  • listen attentively
  • don’t overstay your welcome
If you don't follow the basics, it can be hard to establish rapport.

These basics will help you build trust, empathy, and make people feel like you care and listen.

3. Be Well-Rounded

Be well rounded by having hobbies and learning new skills.Be well rounded by having hobbies and learning new skills.Be well rounded by having hobbies and learning new skills.
Be well rounded by having hobbies and learning new skills. (Image source: Envato Elements)

To find common interests with others, you need to have your own interests and hobbies. If you've got your own hobbies and skills, you can develop rapport with people more easily. And it's more likely that someone will relate to your interests.

Try that hobby you always wanted to try but didn’t because of time. You can learn a new skill online through YouTube.

It can be challenging to find hobbies or learn skills outside of work. So, try scheduling time each week to try a new skill or hobby.

You don’t have to be an expert in your hobby or skill to build rapport. You can still connect through your interest.

4. Be Yourself

When you develop rapport, remember that you need to be genuine. If you aren’t, people will know and you’ll fail.

If you can’t find a common interest, try asking the other person about a skill, hobby, or interest of theirs. When learning about one of their interests, you might even find a new interest for yourself. But only ask about something if you're genuinely interested in it.

For example, if the person likes to go to wine tastings, ask them about it. You don’t need to hurry and buy a book about wine. Acting like a student who wants to learn from a teacher is a great way to build rapport in a sincere way.

5. Actively Listen

Actively listen to who your talking to.Actively listen to who your talking to.Actively listen to who your talking to.
Actively listen to who you're talking to. (Image source: Envato Elements)

To develop rapport, you need to actively listen. Active listening means that you need to have your full attention on the person who is talking. It's an essential communications skill.

Active listening can lead to openness and honesty. It also creates a conversational atmosphere and can lead to excellent communication. When someone feels like they're being heard, they'll open up to you and create a better relationship.

Here are more tips on how to become an active listener:

6. Find Common Ground

Find common ground with an employee such as finding similar hobbies.Find common ground with an employee such as finding similar hobbies.Find common ground with an employee such as finding similar hobbies.
Find common ground with an employee such as finding similar hobbies. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Finding what you and the person you’re trying to establish rapport with has in common can help build a bond. Your common interests don’t need to be deep. For example, you can share that you both hated the morning traffic.

Use open-ended questions as the easiest way to get someone to open up. 

7. Have Shared Experiences

Create new and shared experiences to establish rapport. This can be as simple as going to a conference together. It can also be as complex as fixing a problem at work.

Working together to find solutions and design strategies will bring you and the person closer to each other.

8. Have Empathy

Have empathy for your employees to establish rapport.Have empathy for your employees to establish rapport.Have empathy for your employees to establish rapport.
Have empathy for your employees to establish rapport. (Image source: Envato Elements)

Empathy is where you understand other people by seeing things from their perspective and recognizing their emotions. When you look at another person’s perspective and emotions, you learn what motivates them. 

Learn more about how to develop more empathy in the workplace here:

9. Mirror and Match

It's been proven that people prefer others who are just like them. This means that by mirroring and matching, you can establish rapport because you’ll be more like the other person.

To mirror and match someone watch their body language. When watching their language, look at their gestures, posture, and expressions. For example, if the person is resting their head on their right hand, you would mirror and match by resting your head on your left hand. Study the tutorial below to learn more about body language:

Another way to use mirroring is if the person is bubbly and cheery, you should behave similarly (or vice versa). For example, if a person is shy and quiet, but you're bubbly and loud, you could be overwhelming for the person.

Or use similar language. For example, if the person is using technical words and speaking directly, you should use technical language also.

10. Share Information

To develop rapport, you need to give some information about yourself. To have common interests with others, you need to talk about yourself.

If you’re a naturally talkative person, don’t forget to let the other person talk too. People don’t like to have conversations with people and not participate. While you can bond with people by sharing interests, remember that listening is essential.

For example, if your employee is excitedly telling you about their vacation, but you’ve been there multiple times, don’t go overboard with sharing your own experiences. Instead, let your employee talk about their experiences and bond about a similar experience. Ask them what they liked or if they tried a specific restaurant.

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Improve Your Workplace: Establish Rapport With Coworkers

Knowing how to build rapport and establish trust and connection that comes with that is an important skill. So many situations can be resolved better if there's rapport established.

So, take the time to connect with your employee, team member, or colleague today. Once you take the time to build rapport in your workplace, you’ll discover the benefits for yourself.

Editorial Note: This content was originally published in January 2022. We're sharing it again because our editors have determined that this information is still accurate and relevant.

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