The Magic of Rapport

Think of a time when you and another person were completely in sync. It could be a friend or a lover or a family member or someone you just met by chance. Go back to that time and try to think what it was about the person that made you feel so attuned to him/her.

Chances are that you found you thought alike or felt the same way about a certain movie or book or experience. You might not have noticed it, but maybe you had similar patterns of breathing or speech. Maybe you had a similar background or similar beliefs. Whatever you come up with will be a reflection of the same basic element – rapport. Rapport is the ability to enter someone else’s world, to make him, feel that you understand him, that you have a strong common bond. It’s the ability to go fully from your map of the world to his map of the world. It is the essence of successful communication.

Rapport is the ultimate tool for producing results with other people. Remember, that people are your most important resource. Well, rapport is the way you tap that resource. No matter what you want in your life, if you can develop rapport with the right people, you will be able to fill their needs, and they will be able to fill yours.

The ability to establish rapport is one of the most important skills a person can have. To be a good performer or a good salesman, a good parent or a good friend, a good persuader or a good politician, what you really need is rapport, the ability to form a powerful common human bond and a relationship of responsiveness.

A lot of people make life very complicated and difficult. It doesn’t have to be. All the skills you learn in this book are really ways to achieve greater rapport with people, and rapport with others makes almost any task simpler, easier, and more enjoyable. No matter what you want to do, see, create, share, or experience in life, whether it’s achieving spiritual realization or earning a million dollars, there is someone else who can help you accomplish your goal more quickly and easily. Someone else knows how to get there quicker or more effectively or can do something to help you get where you want to go more rapidly. The way to enlist that person is to achieve rapport, the magic bond that unites people and makes them feel like partners.

Want to know the worst cliché ever coined? Opposites attract. Like most things that are false, it has an element of truth. When people have enough in common, the elements of difference add a certain excitement to things. But overall, who is attractive to you? Whom do you want to spend time with? Are you looking for someone who disagrees with you on everything, has different interests, likes to sleep when you want to play, and likes to play when you want to sleep? You want to be with people who are like you and yet unique.

When people are like each other, they tend to like each other. Do people form clubs of people who are different from them? No, they get together as fellow war veterans or stamp collectors or baseball card collectors, because having something in common creates rapport. Ever go to a convention? Isn’t there an instant bond created among people who’ve never seen each other before? One of the staples of comedy is a fast talking, back slapping extrovert trying to interact with a quiet, self effacing introvert. How do they get along? They are just not enough alike to really like each other very much.

Whom do most Americans tend to feel better about, the English or the Iranians? And whom do we have the most in common with? Same answer. Think about the Middle East. Why do you think there are problems there? Are the Jews and Arabs alike in their religious beliefs? Do they have the same sort of justice system? Do they have the same language? You could go on and on. Their problems result from the ways they are different.