One of the keys to my success as an entrepreneur has been my ability to quickly build rapport with people. This was especially important when I was a realtor as I generally had less than one hour to get a seller to like and trust me enough to employ my services.
In this two part series, I will share with you 12 ways you can accelerate the rapport building process. These methods can be used during your next job interview, when you meet with a prospective client or at the next social event you attend. Essentially, they can be used in any situation to quickly build relationships.
If you have been following my daily blog posts, you have learned about these lessons when I covered them individually, but in today’s lesson I want to highlight their value in quickly building rapport with people you’ve never met.
1. Be On Time—When you are on time for a scheduled meeting, call or appointment you demonstrate your respect for people’s time. You also show that you honor your commitments, you are dependable and can be trusted. When you are late, you do the exact opposite and undermine your ability to quickly build a valued relationship.
Starting today, make it a point to arrive five minutes early for all your business and personal appointments.
2. Look Good—The first impression you make on people creates a lasting impression and it begins with the way we look. A good appearance includes the way you groom yourself and the clothing and jewelry you wear. All these little things combine to form your overall “look.”
If you want to make a great first impression, make sure you look like someone who takes pride in your appearance. Yes, it requires a little extra effort, but it is worth it.
3. Smile—When you meet people for the first time, the first thing they are going to notice is your overall look, but then their attention will immediately go to your face. If you offer a warm, welcoming and sincere smile, they will be instinctively drawn to you. The key with your smile is to show an authentic interest in the other person, rather than the standard half-hearted smile that almost everyone uses.
Not only should you focus on your smile when you first meet a person, but you also want to focus on smiling during your time together. The more you smile, the more people will like you.
4. Make Eye Contact—When you are engaged in a conversation with someone, make sure you maintain comfortable eye contact with this person. When you make eye contact, focus on communicating your sincere interest in the person, rather than just starring into his or her eyes. It’s a small, but powerful distinction.
5. Your Handshake—The impression you make on people through your handshake influences how they feel about you. A proper handshake is even more important when meeting people for the first time. The manner in which you extend your hand, the degree of firmness and the timing demonstrate your poise and confidence and will inevitably set the tone for your relationship.
Men, when you meet other men, be the first to offer your hand. When meeting women, wait for them to offer their hand. Women, when you meet both men and women in a business environment, immediately offer a firm handshake. Men and women who initiate a handshake are generally viewed as being confident.
6. Make Your Welcome Greeting Stand Out—The key here is to take 10 seconds and make them feel like the most important person on this earth. Most people simply shake a person’s hand and say the standard, “nice meeting you”, so this is your chance to stand out from the crowd as someone who is truly pleased to meet them.
If you will be intentional about working on these six points, you will definitely make a positive impression on everyone you meet and you will stand out from the crowd as someone who cares. In tomorrow’s lesson I will share six more tips to accelerate the rapport building process.
You can be successful in achieving any goal that is important to you, if you will focus on the little things that matter.
About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s daily lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #27 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)