Five Ways to Build Rapport during a Critical Conversation

Part of the Critical Conversations For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Building and maintaining rapport with the person you are having a critical conversation with makes any discussion more likely to have a positive result. Building rapport means creating a relationship based on trust and affinity. You will be much more likely to have a positive conversation with mutual respect if you keep the following tips in mind when building rapport:

  • Be sincere. It is important to establish common goals or shared interests, but don’t just say what you think the other person wants to hear. Share your genuine thoughts, feelings, and interests and be open and respectful to what others have to say.

  • Be present in the conversation. Listen to what the other person is saying rather than think solely about what you are going to say next or cast judgment. Look at the other person when they are talking, put aside distractions (shut off the computer, turn off your phone, shut the door).

  • Be confident, but not arrogant. When you are confident, it can put the other person at ease. Even if you are a bag of nerves, confidence can come from smiling, holding your head up, and talking with a clear voice.

  • Be empathic. Everyone comes to the conversation with a different history or perspective, and having empathy for these different views is the best way to build a relationship. Recognize and respect how others are feeling, even if you do not agree with their point of view.

  • Be honest. Say what you mean, do what you say, and follow through with what you commit to doing. Relationships are built on trust. If you say one thing and do another, that trust will quickly evaporate.

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