Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Creating Rapport - It's Key To Your Professional Success

As any good recruiter will tell you, when it comes down to a hiring manager choosing which candidate to offer their position, the hiring manager will not always select the most experienced, best educated or most credentialed candidate. They will, however, always select the candidate that they connected with - the one with which the hiring manager felt the best rapport.

Creating rapport starts at the first impression. When meeting someone for the first time, especially in an interview situation, most of us become too nervous to think beyond our own role in the interview, i.e., firm handshake, eye contact, genuine smile, listening carefully, selling our talents as we answer questions. But to create rapport, you have to pay attention to the other person. What is their emotional state? What motivates them?

In my coaching practice, I often teach mirroring techniques to help my clients gain understanding of others with whom they interact. For instance, someone who is very direct in their communication style might come across as abrupt to another whose style is to take a softer, more considered approach. When utilizing mirroring techniques, you exhibit a reflective communication style, meaning that you adapt your communication style to reflect harmoniously that of the other person. So that person with a very direct communication style, when interacting with someone with a softer, more considered style, would slow down, listen carefully, and adopt a more considerate approach. By doing this, you are creating immediate understanding and rapport with the other person. Since your communication styles are now compatible, the other person will be focused on what your are saying, rather than your communication style.

Creating rapport begins with your very first encounter with another person, whether in person or in writing. Becoming aware of your own style, the way you prefer to function, is the first step in gaining understanding of the preferences of others, which is the first step in creating rapport. So be aware. Seek out opportunities to practice mirroring techniques. See how your ability to reflect the preferred style of another helps you create rapport with them.

How could you utilize this talent to become the preferred candidate in an interview opportunity?

How could you utilize creating rapport to better demonstrate your effectiveness to your manager?

How would creating rapport help you to better motivate and lead your team?

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