MAY 17, 2015 by David Potter
Building Rapport the Dale Carnegie Way through NLP
Category : Breaking Mindset

Some 80 years ago Dale Carnegie published his amazing book “How  to Win Friends and Influence People”. The book is still a classic and highly relevant today. Essentially the book is about relationship management. What is relationship management ? Well put simply in NLP terms it is all about building and maintaining ‘ rapport’. There is no doubting the fact that the quality of a relationship can be defined by the strength of rapport two people have with one and other.

Rapport is defined as low resistance between two people which enables alignment of values, attitudes, beliefs and behaviours. Rapport is a magical dynamic which as Carnegie said enables influencing processes and winning friends. People do tend to like people who are like themselves. If you can adopt the NLP methodology of ‘Matching’ you can definitely improve the rapport you experience with significant others. Let's assume that rapport quality can be measured on a scale of 1 through to 10. If you are at say level 2,with your boss or with a direct report by applying matching methods you can move up the scale. Why would you not do this? Well the reason we do not do this is because often we are ‘unreflectively stuck’ in repetitive social strategies which are deeply cemented by the ‘blame game’ I.e. “It's the other guys fault not mine.”

As long as we play the blame game and repeat the same social strategies (ways of handling an interaction) we also remain stuck on the low level point of the rapport scale. What we have to do in NLP terms is to simply change our attitudes. We need to first of all accept the following NLP principle;

1.Resistance is a sign of poor rapport.

This principle means that regardless of how you play the blame game resistance towards your ideas or influence is a clear sign of low level rapport. The next guiding principle is ;

2.Take responsibility for your results.

This principle is probably the most difficult one to accept and to internalise. It involves one accepting the fact that the poor rapport you are experiencing is your responsibility. You have coauthored the dynamic. Therefore it is incumbent on you to do something different in an effort to move up the rapport scale. This brings us to the 3rd NLP principle.

3.If you keep getting unsatisfactory results do something different.

Part of being socially reflective is to be critically self aware and this involves recognising that what you are doing is causing negative results. So if you are experiencing such a situation then change your behaviour, change your attitude,do something different. What is really important in the rapport building process is the 4th NLP principle which advocates the following;

4.Respect the world view of the other

This involves being tolerant towards the perspectives of others and avoiding the powerful temptation to dominate their perspectives and insist that they are wrong and your own point of view, or world view is superior.

5.The interpretation of the other regards your expressions are reflective of the meaning you give off.

This is a slippery concept to initially grasp. What it means is that regardless of what you thought your meaning intentions were ultimately your meaning given off is in the eyes of your audience , it is they who decide what it is you meant when you said this, or did that. This of course makes communicating meanings very fragile.

If one can build rapport we can influence social outcomes. As well as the philosophy described above we can match the body language, tonality, values and representational styles of others . This involves one being sensitive to how the other expresses themselves and the values that drive their expressions and the ways in which they perceive and represent their reality perceptions. Do the visualise, or are they touchy-feely or do they think in terms of sounds. For example do they say “ I like the sound of that idea” which indicates a preference towards sounds; or do they say “I like the feeling if that idea” which indicates a preference for touchy-feely representational strategies or finally do they say “ I like what I see in your idea” which indicates a visual thinker. If you can match the representational styles, the body language, the tonality and the values of the other you can pace and lead their experiences and thus influence them.

I can work with you to build the skills required to develop rapport with significant others so that you too can ‘win friends and influence people’ and become hugely successful.

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