Business is built on relationships. It doesn’t matter how weird your industry is or how of “independent” you think you are.
Entrepreneurs get ahead by connecting with the right people. It’s only then that serendipitous magic can happen.
This quick-fire post breaks down the foundational principal behind “rapport” – that magical state where people seem to just *get* (and like) one another. Figure this one tactic out and your network (and whole business) will rocket. Rapport is defined as “A close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well”.
It’s an essential ingredient in any form of direct selling, staff management (or *gasp* leadership) and business negotiation. It’s also the currency of business networking – rapport is what causes entrepreneurs who have what you need (connections, databases, investment capital) to gravitate to your ideology.
Rapport is the foundation of charisma.
The psychology behind rapport is simple. We’re attracted to people that we relate to. We sort for “sameness”.
Romantic relationships are the same, although they cycle through phases of appreciating “differences” as well sameness. However, it’s almost always the attractive power of sameness that creates initial connection.
When humans interact socially, the tend to share descriptions (read: tales) of what they consider to be powerfully emotive experiences. For example…
“The funniest thing happened at work today….”
“You’ll never guess what I saw on the way here tonight…”
“This place reminds me of….”
… Are all conversational starters that segue into vivid descriptions of rich experience. As the listener you can create instant and massive rapport by uttering a single starter of your own, just as soon as the story is finished.
It sounds like this:
“… I can relate…”
I can relate. My experience matches yours, figuratively or literally. I understand you because I’ve felt the same way.
This is the conversational subtext of relational rapport – the act of relating to someone. It’s the essence of deep, lasting connection.
When someone shares a story with you, their unconscious mind is assessing you for that sameness factor. Do you have it… or don’t you? Essentially, their intuition is gauging whether or not you’re trustworthy and worth developing a deeper connection with.
Charismatic, warm and trustworthy people tend to naturally be those who have a vast wealth of life experience that enables them to relate to almost anyone.
Yet so many conversations (especially amongst the so called business elite) start out based on differences.
“We’re working in this industry” – “Oh really? We choose NOT to go near it!”
“I think XYZ is important” – “Here’s why I disagree….”
…and so on.
Conversations like this can feel energizing – taking a stance and arguing a point can be fun. It’s seductive to feel smart and opinionated.
However, it pays to remember the millennia of conditioning that has lead us to intuitively look for and befriend people who are just like we are. We want to meet “our people” in the world. When we meet them, we want to hold on to them… help them out… and cherish them.
You can measure your charisma and thus your business networking success by how well you relate to others.
My question is, where else could good “relating skills” serve you as an entrepreneur? What do you think?