Have you ever known someone who has a flair for connecting with people?
Chances are they have tight rapport skills. In other words, they’ve got the ability to make people feel comfortable in their presence and establish a level of trust with them really quickly. It’s a fantastic talent to have and there are many sales, NLP, and communication companies across the globe that attempt to teach this particular skill.
However, most of them get it dead wrong!
Permit me to stand on my soap box for a moment.
There’s a key element of instant rapport-building which is often missed, even by the supposed rapport-building ‘experts.’ And that is making the techniques seamless and natural. What’s commonly taught in training seminars are the supposed fundamentals of rapport building: matching, mirroring, and leading.
The assumption is that when you want to build rapport with someone, you mirror (or more subtly match their body posture), their speaking tone and pace, and the kind of language they are using so that they start to feel that you are like them, that you are in synch with them.
The truth is that these fundamentals are really just side effects of rapport. For example, if you really connect with somebody you’ll naturally match your body language to theirs without thinking. Trying to artificially plug these gestures and behaviours into a conversation almost always leads to very strange and awkward social interactions, and yet this is what is commonly taught!
Is there a better way to learn rapport skills?
If you ever happen to be involved in a conversation about hypnosis, somebody will soon mention Igor Ledochowski. Igor is a well-known hypnosis master and author on the subject. He is also the world’s foremost expert and trainer on covert hypnosis and accelerated learning. Consequently, his understanding of how to build rapport quickly and naturally is something of a gold standard on the subject. Happily, he agreed to share his insights with you and me in this episode from The Vault!
Below is a transcript of a short interview we filmed on the topic of how to build instant rapport with anyone:
Marcus: Welcome to the next episode of Your Charisma Coach. It’s finally here. Today have I got a treat in store for you. We’re joined by the greatest hypnotist of his generation, Igor Ledochowski, who has agreed to come on and share some of his secrets in hypnosis and how we can apply those to meeting and connecting with people much better than we’re already doing.
So Igor, you have an absolute treasure trove of knowledge in your mind. Are there any good tips that you can show us that would allow us to meet and connect with people in any manner or place?
Igor: Well, first of all, thank you for a glowing introduction. That’s very nice of you. Secondly, there are a lot of things that fit meeting with people, and hypnosis, hypnotherapy or just talking to people in random. What people respond to the most in people, is the humanity of them. You will notice that people we don’t like so much are the ones that are kind of like dead from the neck down and probably from the neck up as well. They’re over-professional. They say all the right words but there’s no life behind them.
Igor: Now if you ask, “Why is there no life behind them?” it’s really an expression of your mindset. You see, very often it’s not just the words that you say that matter. It’s how you say them and how you say them is a direct relationship in terms of where your mind is at.
If you’re feeling depressed and you want to get someone excited, you go, “Oh, I’m excited. I’ve got a really cool show for you.” The words may sound right or the words may be right but they don’t come across right. It’s also with your own emotional state.
So by going first, by allowing your mind to enter the right place first, it just covers all the different context you go into. So how does this apply in terms of meeting people you don’t know or, you know, generating the atmosphere of that emotion in the first place?
Having a friendly mindset will create friendly people around you. When I was a boy, my parents had these cocktail parties and then all these people would come in and as good children, we would go around and say: “more snacks sir?” and “more drinks…?” and that sort of stuff. It was fun.
I found this really strange thing because for some people, I would be very charismatic and I would be engaged and be telling stories and they’d find me fascinating. I would be fascinated. I would [feel like] “Wow, I’m great!”
Then two conversations down the line, I’d be sitting there feeling very awkward with someone else; saying: “So, erm, yeah… um… what do you do?” And I would run out of words.
Igor: And you think to yourself ‘how can this be?’. After awhile, I realised that the reason I felt so charismatic with some people is because they felt comfortable in their own skin and they were interested in me. The other ones were so insecure. They were so clammed up themselves, it was clamming me up.
As a rule, if you can just practice, or rehearse feeling the ways that you would like to have people feel about you, then they will feel like that around you and tend to attach that feeling to you.
Marcus: That makes perfect sense. So is there a technique we can use to get ourselves into that constructive headspace?
Igor: Sure. Absolutely. Here’s a version: it’s called ‘the instant rapport technique‘. Now you have friends, right?
Marcus: At least one or two..!
Igor: If you think about someone who’s a really good friend of yours, not one you’ve had in a romantic relationship because that adds things you don’t necessarily want to have here. Just one who’s a really good friend, a loved one, a member of your family. It can even be a pet or someone who you’ve got a real close emotional connection to.
Now, you think of that pet, that person in your life, whatever, past or present. You will get an emotion well up. You’ll feel good. If you allow that feeling to spread and really kind of project around this. You have a sense of like a happy glow when you think of people you love. You tend to have a happy glow around you.
Igor: As long as you can maintain that happy glow, you can let go of the memory and still have that happy glow. Now when you meet someone for the first time and you have a happy glow, they will notice that. But because that glow of emotion comes from experiences of friendship, you’re now sending out, unconsciously, friendship signals.
Marcus: So you’re almost saying “go first”.
Igor: I’m saying exactly that. Go first. I will give you an example of this. It actually happened to me years ago. I was at a hypnosis seminar and there was a little lady at the hypnosis seminar who for some reason just reminded me of my grandmother. Clearly, she wasn’t my grandmother. I checked.
Marcus: “What are you doing here, Gran?”
Igor: Yeah, exactly, and I didn’t know her from anywhere. I’ve never seen her before in my life. I knew that too but just something about her. There’s something that …
Marcus: …Just resonates.
Igor: Yes. I couldn’t shake this feeling that she might be my grandmother and I didn’t really talk to her for the first few days. But every time I’d catch a glimpse of her, I’d think, “Oh, hello Gran- oh wait that’s someone else!”
Then an interesting thing happened. Right about day two or day three, she comes up to me during one of the breaks and says, “Do we know each other?” I said, “I’m sure we don’t.”
“Did you go to this seminar? No, no, no. Did you go over here? No. Do you know these people? No. Have you been here? No”.
She goes through 20 minutes, half an hour through a list of probably pretty much everything she has done her entire life and where she has been and everyone she has met, because she was so convinced she knew me.
At the time it seemed bizarre to me but looking back right now, my sense of knowing her was clearly sending her signals that ‘I know you!’ but of course, my social politeness was trying to avoid making eye contact with her.
So she is left with this really strange feeling: “I must know him from somewhere but he hasn’t addressed me directly so I haven’t met him before.” Do you get the idea?
Marcus: Absolutely. So you’re sort of saying when we meet somebody, we can project this image onto them that they are someone very special to us.
Marcus: But we should walk up and we keep congruent eye contact.
Marcus: And [congruent] behaviours, so we’re not looking away as well, almost bathing them in positivity and niceness …
Igor: Exactly. Because you see, all these signals you’re talking about are a lot easier to do unconsciously because they come unnaturally. I don’t know if you talk with your group about matching and mirroring; having similar body language and so on being an interesting phenomenon. I mean [look at us now]: we’ve been mirroring by accident. We know each other so we’ve done that.
Now the problem with matching and mirroring and the way most people do it is they do this [mimics deliberate copying of body language]. I mean you move and I will move and you will do something and I will do something. Then we become like little wooden marionettes and eventually…well, pretty much within the first three seconds, you know – you feel like I’m ‘taking the mickey’ and if you were to lean across from the room and try to slap me for being rude, then you’re being a lot more controlled than most people would be.
Marcus: Unfortunately, you’re just out of reach from me!
Marcus: We’re sitting in safety chairs…!
Igor: Exactly. So matching and mirroring is designed to be unconscious. That’s how we were born to do it as people …
Marcus: Mirroring is almost like a byproduct?
Igor: That’s exactly right. It is a side effect and of course, I’m conscious to my response to it but we as conscious beings can’t mimic it. We can start mimicking it and once we get good at it, we can let go of it. It becomes unconscious again which means that the only time it works is when it’s not conscious.
So instead of going through all that effort of trying to learn it consciously and then losing track of it again so it can happen naturally, why not create the conditions for it to happen more dramatically? That’s what the instant rapport technique is about.
If you are emotionally convinced that the other person is your friend, you’ll always be giving off friendship signals and you will – part of your psychological make-up is to start mirroring them, to start being like them. But it’s unconscious. You don’t think about it. It makes life a lot easier, less to keep track of …
Marcus: People like people who are like themselves.
Marcus: So let’s summarise then. We see some people we want to go and talk to. We get our head in that mind space of thinking. First of all, let’s mention someone very dear to us and that’s almost really sort of giving us better software I think when we’re going to walk up to somebody and start talking to them …
Igor: Yes, exactly.
Marcus: If we use that [idea] then, just like a protocol for when we think “there’s someone that I want to go and talk to” then we think this this thought [the instant rapport technique] and [put that in place] before we open our mouths, you’re suggesting that we are going to have a lot better connection with people.
Igor: Yes, but it’s not just thinking of thoughts that’s important. It’s the emotional content. You see, the unconscious mind is the storehouse of your emotions.
If what we’re doing is thinking of thought, your mind has learned to fantasise or remember. There’s a difference. Think of someone you actually like in a pleasant situation. It makes you feel good. You have a little smile. Think of some situation you don’t like so much and you will get a little frown and it’s not as nice.
Now you can fantasise all kinds of wonderful things that you don’t think will ever happen and there is some little trick your mind does when you are just really fantasising. You tell yourself: “this is not really real… I’m just enjoying the fantasy of it.”. When that happens the unconscious mind goes: ‘well, we only have a mild response here’.
So if you just think of someone you like, but don’t feel it, well then the emotion is not going to be there. If the emotion is not there, you haven’t fully engaged the unconscious mind.
So this is not a magic trick. This is not like” Visualise a person. Project him unto the other person. Now I’m maintaining my visual memory of the other person on top of you and therefore we will automatically start connecting.” You see the intense strain and concentration on my face. It’s going to make me feel and look awkward again.
Igor: Yeah, but it’s going to have the opposite effect that you want. What we’re looking for is a naturalness. Hence, if you want to have a process, you can practice it at home first and then you start doing it more naturally.
Think of someone or a pet or a person that you really have a good connection to.
Intensify the memory until you start feeling it.
When you feel it, let it project to kind of surround the other person. So you have this emotional sense of connection. Once you have that, let go of the memory, enjoy the feeling and just go, “Hey, have we met before? I’m sure we’ve met before.” Then I will go, “Yeah, I don’t know.” Then well, the rest is history I guess.
Marcus: [Shakes hand with Igor] Have we met before?
Igor: Not exactly!
Marcus: Guys, we are just scratching the surface with Igor today. He has got a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to be shed here and we just don’t have time. But if you would like to find out more about what Igor does and it’s amazing, head over to www.StreetHypnosis.com. Are there any other places?
Igor: That’s the main one. If you want to learn more about where this technique came from, the instant rapport technique, that’s part of our Power of Conversational Hypnosis Course and that’s at www.Conversational-Hypnosis.com
Marcus: Thanks so much. Thanks for joining us. Thank you, Igor, as well. Absolute pleasure talking to you and I will see you all on the next episode of Your Charisma Coach!