Rapport is the process of building an amicable relationship—an emotional bond—between people based on trust, understanding, and a sharing of each other’s interests and concerns. It’s an attraction built on mutual liking, empathy, and camaraderie.
Early in my career, I recognized that rapport is one of the most important characteristics of human interaction. I realized that if I were going to be a successful Realtor, I would need to learn how to quickly build rapport with people. I studied; I researched; and I finally compiled a list of “little things” that would help me to quickly build rapport. (See The 12 Fastest Ways to Build Rapport.)
Being able to build instant rapport with people offers numerous benefits. If we know how to quickly connect with people, we can use this knowledge in job interviews, business meetings, networking events, attracting a partner, and many other situations where the speed in which we build rapport matters.
What Is the Connecting Element?
Since starting this blog more than a year ago, I have been monitoring how I feel about new people I meet. My goal has been to identify the little things that quickly attract me to people as opposed to those little things that repel me from people.
When I felt an immediate connected with someone, I analyzed our interactions. I asked myself several questions: “Why does my gut tell me this is a quality person?” “Why did my sub-conscious draw me to this person?” “Why do I like this person?”
The one common thread—among those with whom I felt an immediate connection—was that I believed they truly cared about me. Wow! So simple? The people I was most attracted to were those whom I instinctively felt really cared about me as a person.
Next I wanted to identify the distinguishing characteristics of those people to figure out why I felt they cared about me. In evaluating all the factors there was one thing that stood out to me that I had never consciously thought about before. It was the look on their faces.
The “I Care About You” Look
The I-care-about-you look communicates that you genuinely, deep down inside, care about someone. It’s the look that instantly builds trust, makes you likable, and makes people feel a special connection with you.
What would someone’s face look like who has an authentic interest in you as a person? Would these words come to your mind?
- Unhurried—Nothing is more important than you right now.
- Attentive—I would really enjoy learning more about you and your interests.
- Eye contact—I like you.
- Comfortable—I feel relaxed in your presence.
- Warm Smile—I am really enjoying our time together.
The I-care-about-you look is the look your best friend gives you. It’s the look your spouse or significant other gives you. It’s the look that the people who really do care about you have on their face when they see you. It’s the look that results from a cluster of facial expressions that says, “I care about you.”
How to Implement the “I Care About You” Look
The most difficult challenge in implementing this “I care about you” look is that it has to be genuine. I can quickly pick up on the things people do when they are trying to build an in-authentic relationship with me.
Are you the same way? Can you tell the difference between the people who really care about you from the people who acting as though they interested in you?
There is only one effective way to show people they are important to you and that is to truly care about them as people—not because of what they can offer to you. Reframe how you look at people and instead of looking at them as objects, look at them as people worthy of your love, respect and attention.
For the next 24 hours focus on looking at each person you meet as someone you really care about. Put yourself in a state of mind where you care deeply for the other person. Make sure the words you speak, the questions you ask, and your body language all align to say, “I care about you!”
Whether it’s the store clerk, the bank teller, your co-worker, client, spouse, child, or parent, slow down and be intentional about making them feel like the most important person on earth.
If you really want to challenge yourself, change the way you look at those people where there’s tension or hurt feelings in your relationship. It takes a BIG person to look past the faults in others and find what’s special about them.
Your success in life and in business will greatly depend upon building friendly relationships. Create a bond of trust and get “in sync” quickly with people you meet by wearing that I-Care-About-You Look.
About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #20 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)