How to Build Rapport

how to build rapport

People generally like to be around other people who are like themselves. Matthew Ferry, a motivational speaker and sales trainer, says that it’s simliar to the way tribes work. A tribe consists of a number of people who are all similar to one another. They all talk, walk and do things in a similar way.

When someone from tribe A tries to interacts with someone from tribe B, tribe B tends to be a little standoffish and uncomfortable. This is mainly because the person from tribe A is different and tribe B doesn’t trust people who are different.

Has there ever been a time when you met someone you didn’t know and felt like you two just didn’t get along? This is because you appeared to come across as someone who’s from a completely different tribe. 


You may be thinking, “why should I try to be like the other person, the other person should be like me.”

In communication, you cannot be selfish, in fact you must be very giving. The more you choose to be like the person in front of you, the closer you will be to building rapport.

From my experiences, people trust friends, and when they trust you, they are more likely to do business with you.

How do you get the person in front of you to feel comfortable with you and recognize you as their friend?

1. Match Their Tonality

  • Do they talk loud or soft? You’ll want to talk at their volume level at all times. If they are naturally loud, then you talk loud. If they are naturally soft, then you do the same.
  • How do they pronounce words? e.g. (tomato or tamato) Listen to how they say their words and do the same.

2. The Way They Talk

People talk in one of three ways: through their nose, throat, or chest. Figuring it out won’t be too difficult, compare them to the descriptions below and talk the same way.

  • Throat: A very throat-ee person will sound similar to Kermit the Frog
  • Nose: An person who talks through their nose will sound a bit like they’re congested
  • Chest: People who talk to their chest usually sound very deep and loud.

3. Follow Their Rate of Speech

Some people talk really really fast, and some people talk very s-l-o-w. If they talk slow and you talk fast, what’s the first thing that might come to someones mind? Usually when you hear someone who speaks really fast, your brain links them to a slick fast talkin’ sales person. We automatically go into defense mode: “warning warning….salesman…salesman!”

The opposite scenario would be when you talk slow to someone who speaks fast. They might think that your dumb or stupid (which obviously is NOT true).

This is why it is apparent that you speak at the same speed they speak.

4. Repeat & Approve

This is so simple yet but probably one that most people often forget. After they speak, make sure you repeat a very brief synopsis of what they say and then approve (excellent, great, amazing, thats exciting). This shows that you are indeed listening. For some odd reason, people like when you listen 🙂

5. Body Language

Matching body language is also very critical. I’ve listed how you should match each particular part of the person’s body.

  • Posture/Body Movement: Wait 10-15 seconds, and then shift your body in the same way.
  • Gestures: Use the same hand gestures they use, but only when it’s your turn to talk
  • Facial Expressions: Match their facial expressions instantly
  • Shrugs: If they shrug, you should shrug instantly
  • Head Nods: Instantly

Using these tactics will amazingly increase the levels of rapport you achieve with the people you speak to.

20 thoughts on “How to Build Rapport

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  3. Quincy Hirschberg

    Nice information source and an straightforward read. I’m glad ive found your web site because it will facilitatemy study of NLP. The map is definately not the territory!Not too sure if i should be following the Grinder or Bandler school of NLP currently

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  7. Adilson

    Hi! My name is Adilson.
    I’ve found this website through Google, because I was searching for the reason why some people talk very slowly. Indeed, I’m one of them.

    I talk extremely slow, but I never know it before because while I’m talking it sounds regular to my ears, with a normal rate like most people.
    Now I know that I talk very very s-l-o-w because somebody told me so, and I’ve recorded my speech with the cell phone so that I could ear it.

    To be honest, I feel ashamed and uncomfortable with this because as a man it seems that I’m less strong than others, but it’s not true. It’s not even a lack of intelligence or something similar because I’ve attended the university and got my graduation at computer science. Many years ago I was also a teacher.

    I’m sure that the reason is because I was born like this, but what is the part of our body that causes that?
    Through the years I also met several man and women that speak very very slowly. Some speaks slower than me and some a little bit faster than me.

    Thank you.

    1. Chantelle

      Dyspraxia can cause someone to speak slowly, because the condition affects the speed at which signals are sent from the brain to the muscles responsible for speech. I am affected in this way and others have judged me negatively for it (eg they have decided I’m not particularly intelligent or competent)- I find this unfair, because the content of my speech is usually good. Cerebral palsy is one of the main neurological conditions which can cause someone to speak slowly- the motor part of the brain has been damaged early on in life, which means that it may only ever be possible for someone who has this condition to speak slowly (however, this does not mean they are less intelligent, contrary to what some people seem to think). I think there is a greater chance of you having dyspraxia rather than cerebral palsy, although there have been cases of people not being diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy until they’ve reached adulthood.

  8. Rohit Singh

    Thanks for the suggestions to build rapport with someone. I am sure the tactics are going to be very helpful for me.

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  13. Jules Richmond

    Great post. Basically speaking, building rapport with customers and prospects require you to be sensitive. You really need to observe everything carefully. It can help you get hints about your customers.

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