Ship30for30 Day 17 - What is rapport to you?

Wed, Mar 3, 2021 2-minute read

What is rapport to you?
Rapport is one of those difficult to define skills; Talk to 100 people and there will be 100 definitions.

For me, rapport is the foundation of interpersonal relationships. Rapport is the skill that allows us to talk with others, build relationships, and clearly communicate.

Rapport is based on four skills:

Honesty - or how we clearly and directly state our concerns without being too soft or too hard.

Empathy - Genuinely understanding the views and emotions of others.

Autonomy - Recognizing the individuality decision-making rights of a person.

Reflection - Repeating significant and important conversational elements to guide the conversation.

By themselves, these skills are not difficult but require a degree of self-confidence and practice. They are easier to learn if we have good role models for these skills. Honesty can be the most difficult for people because it requires not only genuine concern but deft phrasing to not incite defensiveness.

I struggle with balancing softness and hardness in honesty. Honesty couples with empathy to find balance. Today someone may need more softness, while tomorrow more hardness is required. Honesty needs empathy to find the emotional balance between the phrasing and the specific words. Learning this balance is a lifetime practice. We’ll never always get it right; it matters that we try and learn from our successes and mistakes.

Rapport is the art and skill of building and maintaining meaningful relationships. It’s being able to understand and communicate with coworkers, peers, significant others, strangers yelling at us, and so on.