Building and Maintaining Rapport

This is an outline of the main elements that lead to an increased ability to establish and maintain rapport, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

Rapport operates and is sensed at a number of different levels…


Rapport Verbal

Vocal Effects

Rapport Verbal Effects

Non-Verbal Effects

Rapport Gestures

Process for establishing and maintaining rapport:

Match or Mirror —-> Pace —-> Pace —-> Pace —-> Lead (Test for rapport)

Practice deliberate matching or mirroring in circumstances where the outcome does not matter. This will help you to develop unconscious competence. Possible opportunities will occur in situations like waiting rooms, airport lounges, restaurants and when travelling on the train or bus.  Here are some tips for building your competence:

  •  If sitting, allow the other person to sit down first – you can then adopt their posture
  • Move slowly into the matching/mirroring position and then pace them as they change
  • Maintain a high degree of respect throughout
  • Use peripheral vision to follow the other person’s movements, e.g. breathing patterns
  • Use cross-over mirroring if direct matching is inappropriate

Cross-over Mirroring

This is useful where it is inappropriate to match or mirror the precise behaviour of the other person. In these cases, for example where someone is tapping a pencil on the table, you may wish to make small movements with your fingers or feet that match the rhythm of the tapping.

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