Is communication influenced by rapport? Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) stresses the need to invite and utilize feedback throughout interaction in order to get the best results when communicating with someone.
Is communication influenced by rapport?
Harmony-building, otherwise known as rapport, is a process of eradicating differences between the speaker and the subject in order to make the speaker more efficient and persuasive.
Exploring the channels of communication
There is a misconception out there that anything we speak or hear should be the only basis of our judgment when we interact with others.
However, those that only consider what they hear and what they say, will end up facing a lot of objection and a high level of resistance.
The reason this happens is that all human communication is devised of three channels: vocal, verbal, and nonverbal. The concepts of vocal and verbal communication sound like they might be similar in meaning, yet they are nuanced. Vocal communication deals primarily with components such as tone, pitch, and speech rate. Verbal communication involves all forms of verbal expression – including the formal speech-in-use.
Then of course, the final and perhaps most vital channel is nonverbal communication – or body language.
What is the most vital form of expression?
Nonverbal language appears to be the most vital form of expression according to psychologists and anthropologists. Nonverbal language is especially pertinent in the form of expression face-to-face interactions. In fact, nonverbal communication makes up about 60% of our interactions; while vocal language makes up 30% and verbal language makes up 10%.
Clearly we make use of our nonverbal communication and vocal communication than we do our verbal communication. Of course, this doesn’t mean that we should neglect how effectively we communicate verbally. When it comes to conveying exact information, we still need to deliver that information verbally.
However when you are trying to persuade or influence someone, what you communicate verbally must be consistent with what you are communicating vocally and nonverbally.
If your three channels of communication are not putting forth the same message, your subject will quickly identify the difference and decide that you can’t be trusted because you cannot communicate effectively.
Once you make sure that your message is conveyed properly through all three channels of communication, you also need to master matching and mirroring the subject you are communicating with to make sure your rapport with your subject is maintained throughout the interaction.
Match and mirror defined
When you match and mirror your subject, you are employing an advanced rapport-building technique that focuses solely on vocal and nonverbal communication to put forth a consistent message and deliver an excellent first impression on your subject.
It’s important to note that matching and mirroring is vastly different than just copying or mimicking your subject. It is a technique that will require that you integrate your subject’s body language and vocal style to your own communication repertoire.
Matching is NOT mimicking
When you mimic your subject, it will not produce the results that matching and mirroring will product. By mimicking your subject, you may end up annoying or offending them. If you come across that way, you will be labeled as a mean or rude speaker.
You may yet encounter what is known as a mismatch. Mismatches will occur when those people engaged in conversation, all use different vocal and nonverbal signals. There is absolutely no harmony in the interaction whatsoever.
A mismatch can cause a lot of resistance among all participants in the conversation. If the main speaker doesn’t grab hold of the conversation and make an effort to harmonize with the rest of the participants, a communication breakdown will occur.
How do you match and mirror someone? During your next interaction, be aware of the following vocal and nonverbal signals:
Where do they put their arms and hands?
How are their legs and feet positioned?
Arm movements and hand gestures
Watch their face. A myriad of clues such as smiling, frowning, turning away, etc., will usually come up.
Pay attention to their energy level. Is it high, middle, or low?
Rate of speech
Tone of voice
How loudly are they speaking / voice volume
Rhythm of speech
Once you get a handle on how different people can express themselves in different ways – nonverbally and vocally, you can start to adapt to the various styles as you communicate with others.
When you adapt to something, you are adding to what you are already doing. This really makes clear the difference between matching and mirroring, and mechanical copying. Mechanical copying generates essentially a 1:1 ratio between the gestures and vocal style of the subject and the speaker.
What to do when matching and mirroring doesn’t work in creating rapport
If you find that the matching and mirroring technique doesn’t work for you, it’s entirely possible that the subject is mentally preoccupied. Work on getting your subject’s attention.
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In the next article, we will explore a method called pacing and leading. It will help you to establish rapport with even the most resistant person.