If you’ve ever connected with a stranger almost immediately, chances are you experienced something called rapport. Rapport is nothing more than creating a mutual feeling of trust. Although this can happen pretty quickly, there are literally dozens of communication signals synchronizing between both people, which creates that instant connection.
In a previous article “The First 5 Seconds of your First Impression”, you discovered a starting point for building rapport. Although some people will overlook the first 5 seconds, you really don’t know who will and who won’t. That’s why I provided a framework to help you minimize snap judgments, and maximize your chances of building instant rapport.
In the book, First Impressions for the Business Professional – Why Some of Us Excel and Most of Us Fail, you’ll discover the First Impression model, which is designed to teach you how to maximize rapport in the business world.
In the next few posts, we’ll explore the different aspects of building rapport. After you reduce snap judgments and have enough confidence to approach someone, it’s important to be aware that your body language speaks volumes at the unconscious level.
In order to stay aware of your body language and ensure it speaks in a positive manner, I recommend using the SOFTEN technique. I came across this technique from Don Gabor. I have a slightly different version of SOFTEN, but still want to give Don credit for this technique.
Here is my version:
- Smile—Remember to smile once a minute.
- Open posture—Stand with confidence and allow your body to be open and inviting.
- Forward lean—Lean forward to show interest in the conversation.
- Tone of voice—Speak in a calm and unhurried tone of voice.
- Eye contact—Try to make eye contact 70 to 80 percent of the time.
- Nod head–Nodding your head shows that you’re interested in the conversation.
Being conscious about your body language and ensuring it conveys positive messages is critical to building business relationships. It can also help accelerate your chances of building instant rapport.
Key Lesson: Utilizing the SOFTEN technique can make you appear more confident and positive as soon as you start a conversation to ensure you create a great business first impression.