“The most effective way to achieve right relations with any living thing is to look for the best in it, and then help that best into the fullest expression.” – Allen J. Boone
The ability to establish rapport is a critical factor for the success of any relationship. Whether you are a parent, a partner, a chiropractor, or a practice team member, your ability to establish a state of rapport with the important people in your life can greatly enhance your ability to communicate and get things done.
In common terms, the state of rapport is experienced in those moments when we feel heard and seen fully by another human being and slip into a natural state of deep connection. When rapport is present much more effective and smoother communication is possible, resulting in greater understanding, learning, and joy.
The main elements of rapport are now well understood. Harvard Psychologist Robert Rosenthal summarizes the key elements as:
Shared Attention – When two people pay full attention to each other, (as long-separated, very good friends might at an unexpected meeting) a genuine intensity of interest arises and both parties “feel” like they are being truly experienced. When this deep sense of “being listened to” is present, a natural sense of “shared feeling” or empathy emerges.
A Sense of Positivity – The second necessary ingredient for rapport exists when we feel we are held in warm regard by the other. Through a variety of non-verbal clues, we humans are extraordinarily adept at discerning the emotional state of another. Millennia of natural selection around the evolutionary campfires equipped us to instantaneously interpret body language to determine if someone wanted to mate with us or eat us. These unconscious skills survive in us today; and so, we need to feel safe and valued to fully open up and communicate.
Synchrony – In his book, Social Intelligence Daniel Goleman speaks about synchrony – the natural physical harmonization that can develop between individuals – as follows; “People in rapport are animated, freely expressing their emotions. Their spontaneous, immediate responsiveness has the look of a closely choreographed dance…. the more two people naturally make coupled moves – simultaneous, at a similar tempo, or otherwise coordinated – the greater their positive feelings.” This natural “coming into sync” through our voice, breathing, timing, and body language – creates a natural sense of emotional resonance. (And contrary to many self-help sales gurus, this sort of connection cannot be faked.)
If relationships are at the heart of much of your success and happiness, and rapport is at the heart of the great relationship, I invite you to explore some of these skills with those important