The Top 10 Ways for Managers to Build Rapport through Listening (and stuff!)

Apr 30 08:47 2005 Martin Haworth Print This Article

Working with people, whoever they are and at whatever level, requires great relationships. Managers can build rapport easily and quickly and great relationships follow. Team building is accelerated and what follows is a synergy of creative spirit to build great businesses. Here are Ten Ways to start you off building rapport with your people...

  1. Pay attention to and look at the speaker.

    You're building a relationship,Guest Posting so make sure that you help that along by paying attention - and let them see that you are! Visual attention is so powerful that you can only grow the relationship if you pay full attention by looking at them and not at anything else.

  2. Periodically reflect what they have said back to them - let them say more.

    Show them that you have been listening to them by telling them what you have heard them say. And hey, this is such a great way of enabling them to have a little pause for thought and take it down to the next level of their consciousness - where the real work happens and they say more, much more.

  3. Ask them another question about what they have told you.

    If you are interested, you want to know more, so give them a sign. By asking for more about what they're telling you, it means what they are saying is of great interest to you and they are important to you - now wouldn't you feel great if that was you?

  4. Look them 'nearly' in the eye, frequently.

    If you are up close to people, making eyeball to eyeball contact can be uncomfortable, intimate and intimidating if you do it too much, but eyeball to mouth (or nose or forehead!) much of the time works just as well.

  5. Use touch if appropriate and if that works for them.

    Touch can work if you do it in context - for example if someone touches you on the arm lightly, then you can do it too, usually. It means they are tactile too. There are all sorts of problems about the appropriateness of this, but in the right place at the right time it can work well to build rapport.

  6. Laugh together.

    How many times have you heard that laughter 'brings people together'. Having a conversation where there is appropriate humour makes such a difference - don't be frightened to let yourself go just a little and get involved in the fun! Be one of the boys (or girls!).

  7. Build trust by following through with commitments.

    Create an environment where as you listen, you make commitments and agreements which you follow through and deliver. This creates your 'emotional bank account' credits (as Steven Covey says in the 'Seven Habits of Highly Effective People'). If the person you are listening to knows you will deliver what you say, you are well ahead in their credit rating.

  8. Seek clarification if you are not sure - don't assume.

    As you listen, there may be things which are unclear. Don't be shy, be honest and ask for clarity. It is far worse to make incorrect assumptions and get it wrong, than to admit that you didn't quite understand what they meant. It will also make you human and real - well, at least slightly more so!

  9. Use other body language to show you are listening.

    While you are listening you can show all sorts of encouraging signs that the speaker will take positively. Apart from loads of facial gestures (raised eyebrows, smiles, frowns, nods of the head etc.), other parts of your body show you are listening closely too. A shrug of the shoulders, arm and hand gestures and even an open body posture (arms NOT folded!) can all make a difference to your speaker. (A soft-shoe shuffle of excitement can work too - when you know folk a little better!)

  10. Put off interruptions.

    When listening to someone, maintain full attention by switching off cell-phones, pagers and PA announcements for you. If someone else asks for your attention, don't flip from your original speaker to them. Every time you are interrupted, your rapport build has to start again.

And at the end of the day any interaction, when positive, supportive, encouraging and fun, is going to make a big, big difference.

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Martin Haworth
Martin Haworth

© 2005 Martin Haworth is a Business and Management Coach. He works worldwide, mainly by phone, with small business owners, managers and corporate leaders. He has hundreds of hints, tips and ideas at his website, (Note to editors. Feel free to use this article, wherever you think it might be of value - with a live link if you can).

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