Career and Executive Recruiting Advice
Rapport: How to Get It
Career Center
Bulletins : Calendar
Resource Center
Virus Alerts Center
About Us
Contact Us

CERA - career and recruiting success

Enter subhead content here


Jim Rapson

What's important to realize is that rapport is a Behavioral "phenomena" that can be demonstrated and obtained by ANYONE regardless of gender, age, profession, or culture. Understand that this is a behavior skill that has been learned unconsciously by many people but certainly not all.

Imagine acquiring the "know how" to purposefully get rapport in interviews, sales calls, socially and other contexts

I'll start by using some terms:

  • Calibrating
  • Congruency
  • Mirroring/Matching
  • Leading

Calibrating involves noticing another person's verbal behavior -- tonality, tempo, HOW fast/slow they talk, volume (loud/soft), and sensory-based language. Sensory-based language would be visual, auditory, or kinesthetic words.

It also involves noticing their nonverbal behavior -- posture, head tilts, arms crossed, legs crossed, breathing rate, hand/arm gestures.

Noticing if their verbal behavior matches their nonverbal behavior. Incongruent behavior is when the verbal isn't aligned with the nonverbal. This can mean a little or a lot, ranging from outright lying to simple facetious behavior.

Matching your verbal behavior to their's -- speak in the same voice tone, speed, tempo, and /or volume AS THEIRS, sensory based language; matching their nonverbal behavior: adjust your body language to the same posture, head tilt, arms crossed, legs crossed, breathing rate, hand/arm gestures, etc. as them.

When mirroring, its critical to start doing it no earlier than 20- 40 seconds after you calibrate their behavior.

Adjust YOUR behavior VERBALLY and/or NONVERBALLY after mirroring them and notice if they MIRROR you. And they may adjust their behavior to you without necessarily mirroring your exact behavioral move/adjustment Typically they will respond from immediately and up to 2- 3 minutes. if they do adjust, you probably HAVE rapport. If you adjust a second time and they follow, you DO have rapport and have successfully lead them.

If they don't mirror you, you have either lead TOO Quickly OR you need to mirror them some more OR mirror a different verbal/nonverbal behavior in them and/or change your behavior again CHOOSING another behavior to lead with). Again the TEST for rapport is WHEN they adjust to you.

When in groups, you can mirror one person's voice tone(for example) AND mirror another person's nonverbal behavior. this is a way of getting rapport with more than one person. you can also speak at approximately the same rate as their breathing.

Then there is cross over rapport/mirroring is a more advanced rapport practice.

If you're a manager, your "power" comes from how well you play your role up AND down the organization chain and rapport skill is a KEY ingredient of that. So is CONGRUENCY. When you have BOTH, you have the kind of influence in time and through time with everyone, up and down the company chain and that commands the monetary rewards, career progress, and professional recognition you seek.

If you're a recruiter, whether contingency or corporate, you probably already know you're really in sales. Your success is a byproduct of how competent your business and/or candidate development skills are. Production for your company and influence with your co-workers up and down your company's chain. The combination of congruency and superb rapport skills has equally as powerful an impact.

Whether most of your work is on the phone, in person, or BOTH, whether you want these skills in multiple contexts, and whether you already obtain rapport easily and quickly or are new to the process, these are the BASICS of obtaining rapport with people and leading them.

Rapport skills are one of the first things taught in an NLP Practitioner course or by NLP trained Sales Trainers. The better trained NLP/NLP trained Sales trainers will employ very advanced teaching methodologies designed to lead students from unconscious incompetence to unconscious competence rapidly within a practitioner or sales training.

Jim Rapson, TCU BBA 82, is trained to Trainer's level in NLP by Richard Bandler. He has worked as an IT recruiter for several technical staffing firms, and in B2B Telemarketing for several Software and Environmental companies. He is currently an Account Manager for AutoVantage in Houston servicing their customer base in the Southeast USA. He can be reached via email at

Enter content here