The Art of Project Management: Expert advice from experienced project managers in Silicon Valley, and around the world

Building Rapport Quickly

RapportIs a new person joining your project team? Are you managing a new team of people? Are you meeting a customer or prospective customer for the first time? There are a number of situations in which a program manager needs to quickly establish a trusting relationship with a new acquaintance in order to be effective. Building rapport  is one of the keys to establishing a such a relationship, a relationship in which there can be a free flow of information and ideas. This series of blogs describes tools that can aid you in building rapport.

People like people like themselves. We are wired this way. This trait is the premise for a rapport-building technique called mirroring, whereby you make yourself a reflection of the person with whom you are interacting. In as much as that person sees his/her reflection in you, the person relaxes and feels comfortable. Mirroring is important at the physical level, the behavioral level and the cognitive level. This series will touch on all three.

The techniques I describe focus on the non-verbal side of rapport building. Of course, there is also the verbal side of rapport building, the most important tool of which is….. listening! I trust that Generous Listening is already a prominent tool in your rapport-building toolkit. This series of posts will provide you with some non-verbal tools to include in your kit.


About the Author

A seasoned high tech leader with over 20 years of leadership and technology experience, Matt Schlegel provides consulting services in the areas of team leadership, product development, and manufacturing partnerships. Matt founded Enncorporation to deliver collaboration tools that help clients align teams around strategic initiatives and operate their businesses more effectively. After graduating from Harvey Mudd College with a degree in Engineering and UC San Diego with an MS in Electrical Engineering/Applied Physics, Matt was granted a Mombusho Scholarship to conduct research at the University of Tokyo. The following 3 years were spent living, studying and working in Japan. Leaving Japan, Matt returned to his native San Francisco Bay Area where he has spent nearly 20 years working in a number of engineering, management and consulting roles.
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