The dictionary defines rapport as “a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well”
Daniel Goleman says there are three components of rapport: (1) Focused attention; (2) Body synchrony (speaker and listener are mirroring each other’s body language); and (3) Feelings of pleasure.
If you want to be a better communicator in all of life, work on growing rapport. Maintaining eye contact, matching height when possible, smiling, ignoring your phone, laughing at joke attempts–all these and more help establish and maintain rapport.
Good public speakers work at establishing and maintaining rapport with their audience.
Most of them immediately notice the listeners who are actively doing the same. We key off you to measure how it’s going; to decide if we need to make adjustments; and (if it is going well) to relax slightly and really enjoy ourselves. Thank you for your generous listening!
In an age where we are getting most of our content from videos–where bilateral communication is impossible–we may be inadvertently training ourselves to become passive listeners when we’re actually in a live audience.
Lean in. Make eye contact. Laugh at the jokes (even if they aren’t that funny). Smile. Nod your head. If something is deeply resonating, it’s okay to say Amen. Take notes. Contribute to the kind of atmosphere you would love if you were the speaker. Help make your school/church/chapel a place guest speakers love to be invited.