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June 6, 2016

How Do You Build Rapport at Work?

Keith Jackson

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What does "rapport" at work mean to you? Maybe it's just enjoying a bit of banter with a colleague, or perhaps it's an important part of establishing trust and deeper connections with the people around you.

In our article, Building Rapport, we say, "Put simply, you have rapport with someone when there is mutual liking and trust." Knowing how to establish rapport is a useful and important skill to have.

Creating connections and strong bonds with people can not only improve the quality your workplace relationships, it can can also lead to new opportunities. If you have rapport with people, they will likely be supportive of your ideas and proposals, and they will feel more confident and happy doing business with you.

Our article suggests a number of strategies for building rapport, including finding common ground, and being empathic and sincere. But we decided to throw open the topic to our friends and followers on social media. We asked, "How do You Build Rapport and Strengthen Bonds at Work?" Here is a selection of their excellent replies:

Facebook friend Emily Washines said, "I listen. I follow their directions. I learn their job language. Sometimes we use humor." Writing from Zambia, Emmanuel Hamatwi said, "Rapport is a relationship of mutual understanding and trust. Be approachable and accessible, make yourself available and offer help to others. To strengthen rapport requires openness and a genuine smile."

Vaibhav Gupta added, "We can build professional and personal rapport with colleagues by sharing words related to some work, family functions, sharing funny moments etc. This way, we can strengthen our bond." Yolandé Conradie suggested, "Be the voice of reason, the voice with kindness. I treat others like I want them to treat me, even if they don't do the same. And... have a sense of humor and laugh together!"

Project trainer Lisa Melius, from St Lucia, believes that responsibility for rapport starts at the top. She said, "One of the key elements is having a workplace culture that fosters rapport and team building at its core, and that doesn't happen overnight. If it does not exist, senior managers need to ensure that the change starts with them, and that their managers reflect the behavior that creates that environment."

Our LinkedIn network also weighed into the discussion. Corporate trainer Bryan Kilduff, from California, said: "Take a genuine interest in the other person. Engage them when appropriate and listen to what they have to say and learn what they are about." Sarah Balint, who works in HR in Manchester, U.K., said: "I make time for people and have a genuine interest in how they are, or how their day has been. I am friendly, helpful and show that I care. In return I gain trust and build strong rapport with employees."

On Twitter, our followers shared some excellent insights. Here are a few of the many replies we received:

We'd like to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and tips with us. You can join the discussion by leaving your comments, below.

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4 comments on “How Do You Build Rapport at Work?”

  1. I think rapport builds when you willingly become a part of the organisation ( in the sense that you get actively involved with people around ) and care each others emotions and privacy.

    1. Thanks Megha for sharing your thoughts about building rapport. I agree that when we become more active with a group, this can help to build rapport.

  2. The old phrase goes that you cannot have it both ways. If you want to build rapport on the phone, you will improve your customer service levels. Talk time will go up, but you may find that you improve first call resolution and help to reduce agent attrition.
    Ultimately you have to question why there is a target for talk time. It may be measuring the wrong thing.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Brown. You make a very important point about developing a relationship to improve customer service and that takes 'talk time'. So perhaps call centers could rethink what they measure if they want to focus on building relationships and excellent customer service!

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