When I run workshops on Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual Intelligence (Advanced Emotional Intelligence), I am struck by how little people know about the skills of engaging with others, let alone aware if they are genuinely connecting with them.
And for leaders, this is dangerous territory.
Rapport is leadership currency. Without it we become dictators. Or castaways after a mutiny!
When you have good rapport with your team members, trust builds, collective brain is activated and this creates more creativity, innovation, and performance.
Rapport is like an electric fence – when it’s there, you feel safe and protected; when it’s breached, you get an unpleasant jolt.
Here are the basics in developing rapport – some you may know, and one you likely haven’t seen before.
1. Attention: Where are you focused?
Have you shut down all electronic devices? Are you listening? Are you paying attention? Have you turned down your inner dialogue and observing with the whole of your body?
2. Position: Where are you located?
Are you standing up while they are seated? (power play) Are you behind a desk (there is a barrier, and it’s a bit formal) Are you face to face (confrontational), side by side (confessional), or leaning in on an angle (bingo! open with breathing room).
3. Attitude: Do you care? Really?
No matter how well you sit, and pay attention, if your internal dialogue is rolling its eyes, judging, criticising – these messages get sent – and are received, at least subconsciously by the other person.
There is one attitude that trumps all other inner dialogue: it’s to connect with SOUL.
When you pay attention and deeply appreciate someone for the spirit-made-flesh entity that they are, then the deep ocean of compassion swallows them – and you – in its embrace. Compassion is the highest form of love – it’s the expression of deep appreciation, with a desire to help and make a difference if you can. It’s the message of, “I SEE you, I KNOW you, and I APPRECIATE you as a fellow human traveller with a world of woes, worries, and dreams, trying to do your best, even if it looks completely whacked from the outside.”
And that kind of complete acceptance is a warm woolly embrace that allows conversations to go from noise to meaning.
What’s the effect?
When you match your position effectively and with complete attention, you send the message, “You are important”.
When you match your attention with an attitude of appreciating soul, you send the message, “You are heard”.
When you match your attitude of soul appreciation with an open position, you send the message, “You are safe.”
This is what it looks like:
Try it when someone comes in to ask you for a cup of coffee. It may just be the best darn cup of coffee you’ve ever had.