Some people are so well-liked by others and we couldn’t help but think that they are gifted with a charismatic personality. These kinds of people are often the ones who build strong relationships and fulfilling careers throughout their lifetime.
Though it is somewhat true that people are innately charming, learning to build rapport and creating trust are actually skills that can be learned. You just need to take these simple advice from Robin Dreeke, former head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program.
Studying interpersonal relations for over 27 years, Dreeke shared his expert insights on how to get other people to like you more.
1. Learn others thoughts and opinions without judging them.
According to Dreeke,
Seek someone else’s thoughts and opinions without judging them. People do not want to be judged in any thought or opinion that they have or in any action that they take.
In doing so, you do not necessarily agree with them but simply giving them validation – taking time to understand their needs, wants, dreams and aspirations.
What if the person you are talking to starts crazy talk? Robin says your first reaction should be, “Oh, that’s really fascinating. I never heard it in quite that way. Help me understand. How did you come up with that?”
With a calm demeanor, you would encourage a person to comfortably and continually talk about themselves. Remember, people get more pleasure from talking about themselves, even triggering the same sensation pleasure in the brain as food or money.
2. Hold over your ego.
Here is Dreeke’s take:
Ego suspension is putting your own needs, wants and opinions aside. Consciously ignore your desire to be correct and to correct someone else. It’s not allowing yourself to get emotionally hijacked by a situation where you might not agree with someone’s thoughts, opinions or actions.
Most of us are quick to point out other people’s mistakes. However, it is one sure way of killing rapport. What happens to the brain when a person hears something that contradicts with his or her beliefs? The logical part of their mind shuts down. The parts that handle reason and logic become passive and the parts that handle hostile attacks and fight-or-flight response lit up.
3. Be a good listener.
In Dreeke’s words:
“Listening isn’t shutting up. Listening is having nothing to say. There’s a difference there. If you just shut up, it means you’re still thinking about what you wanted to say. You’re just not saying it. The second that I think about my response, I’m half listening to what you’re saying because I’m really waiting for the opportunity to tell you my story.”
This is a very common advice but is often not really elaborated by others. The basics of active listening are really simple; do not interrupt, disagree or “evaluate,” make brief acknowledging comments to show you are listening, repeat what they just said to confirm, and ask questions.
4. Ask good questions.
According to Dreeke;
A great question I love is challenges. “What kind of challenges did you have at work this week? What kind of challenges do you have living in this part of the country? What kinds of challenges do you have raising teenagers?” Everyone has got challenges. It gets people to share what their priorities in life are at that point in time.
Everybody faces different challenges in life. It’s not about highlighting problems but simply asking for advice. It is actually one of the most potent ways to influence someone. However, it is more than just asking the right questions. Sincerity is important as well.
5. Make strangers feel at ease.
Here is Robin’s take:
When people think you’re leaving soon, they relax. If you sit down next to someone at a bar and say, ‘Hey, can I buy you a drink?’ their shields go way up. It’s ‘Who are you, what do you want, and when are you leaving?’ That ‘when are you leaving’ is what you’ve got to answer in the first couple of seconds.
Sounds strange, right? The reality is nobody wants to feel trapped talking to some random person. So the first thing to tell them is you only have a minute because you are headed out the door. In addition, asking people if now is a good time makes them more likely to comply.
6. Consider your body language to build rapport.
Having positive words and good questions would both be useless if your non-verbals or body language do not match. Here are some things that Dreeke recommend that you do:
*Smile! It is a great way to incite trust.
*Keep a lower chin angle so it won’t appear as if you are looking down your nose at anyone. Throw in a little bit of a head tilt.
*A full frontal, full body display may appear offensive to someone. Approach with a little bit of angle.
*Keep your palms up while you’re talking. It conveys this message, “I’m hearing what you’re saying. I’m open to what your ideas are.”
*Use high eyebrow elevations. Anything going up and elevating is very comforting while anything compressing like lips and eyebrow convey stress.
7. Deal with someone you don’t trust smartly.
Gaining trust and rapport with other people do not necessarily mean you would let people easily manipulate you. However, once you recognized the other party’s intentions, there is no need to be hostile, instead ask their goals directly.
According to Robin Dreeke;
I watch for validation. If someone is trying to validate me and my thoughts and opinions, I am alert to it. I love doing that as well. So now I’m looking for intent. Are you there for me or are you there for you? If you are there strictly for your own gain and you’re not talking in terms of my priorities ever, that’s when I’m seeing someone is there to manipulate me.
In conclusion, building connection with people involves a great deal of trust and not just tricks. There is definitely more to relationships and connections than ‘just being yourself.’ So try practicing these tips today to be more effective in interacting and building rapport with other people.
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