Every time someone gets into an argument or finds himself in a verbal match from a misunderstanding, or feels frustrated with his children’s lack of motivation to study, poor communication is usually the principle factor.

Communication is a lot more about ideas than about words, and ideas are a lot more about influence than about being interesting.

The average person affects people around him less than he is affected by them. Fortunately, becoming more influential is not as difficult as you think. The key to this is rapport.

What is rapport?

Rapport is the heightened state of a relationship where both parties feel unanimously that no harm will result from the relationship or interaction.

Remember the time you met a stranger at work or at a birthday party where you both hit it off and felt that you were on the “same frequency”? The reverse is true, too. There are some people you meet whom you instantly dislike, no matter what they say or do.

This phenomenon is the result of the creature neurology operating from within our brains. The creature neurology is conditioned to favour elements around us that are like us.

Likeability is a prerequisite of rapport. We like and have rapport with people our subconscious recognises as similar to us. The creature neurology or the limbic system has no language capacity, which means you cannot tell someone to like you — you can only make him feel that he should like you.

Leaders, achievers and people with charisma all understand this instinctively, and use effective and simple techniques to achieve rapport:

Be positive

The limbic system is attracted to positive people because they have more energy and perceived resources than someone who sulks and is moody.

Smile at everyone and avoid negatively charged words like “problem, issue, tired, bored, bad” and so on. Instead, re-orientate your vocabulary positively. Pepper your conversations with words like “great, amazing, fantastic, wonderful, hopeful” and so on. Instead of saying, “no problem”, use “everything is going smoothly”. 

Be confident

The eyes are more than the windows to the soul, they are also extensions of our limbic system. Maintain eye contact with someone you are talking to, as it indicates confidence. Soften the intensity by relaxing your eye area and learn to “smile” with your eyes as well as your mouth. 

Be interested

When you show someone a group picture, who in that picture in the most interesting to him? Himself. In a list of words, which words are the most interesting? His name.

What topic is the most interesting to people? The one that relates to them. We know more and have more to say about ourselves than any other topic. Keep the topic ratio at 1:5 — less about you and more about them — and be amazed at how much more people will like you for it. 

Ring the same bell

When I say “as soon as possible” and think of a time, it is unlikely that it is the same time you are thinking of when you say “as soon as possible”. The limbic system cannot tell the difference.

If someone loves to use the word “awesome”, feed it back to him. When someone uses the word “great” or “cool”, feed it back to him too. This helps to create the impression in people’s minds that you are on the same frequency as them.

Apply these simple tips and tricks and watch your rapport increase with those who are important to you.


Article by Vernon Lim, a neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) influence coach and trainer with Acme Achievers, an NLP training provider in Asia. For more information, visit www.acmeachievers.com.