How To Gain Instant Rapport With LanguageHow To Gain Instant Rapport With Language

I went to the theatre at the weekend to watch a stage version of a favourite film of mine. The film is called 'East is East' and is nothing short of hilarious throughout. The stage show is wonderful too.

The idea behind the film is about a mixed race family where the strict father from Pakistan has raised his children with his northern English wife in a working class environment. The father expects his sons to agree to an arranged marriage and is infuriated when they do not want to do so. I shall not go on in too much depth about it, but if you get the chance to see it, you will laugh out loud at times.

The things that make me laugh about it so much is the way in which language is used. There is a very specific language that incorporates many factors that is used by the father; the way he talks envelopes a northern English accent, Pakistani mannerisms and traits and a wonderful working class profanity that is the hallmark of this brilliantly written script.

However, I still find myself finding the way the father communicates verbally to be very aggressive and direct; his language is hilarious, but it is never going to win him many friends upon an initial meeting!

It got me thinking about how to use language to build and develop rapport with other people and using your language to enhance relationships with people right from the start.

I am not going to write about the content of your language; the subject matter is not what I want to highlight today. I want to highlight how to be aware of how others use language. Then you can very cleverly reflect their style of language back to them in your own communication to build rapport beautifully.

Think about noticing and considering the words people are using. We all use words every day to communicate with those around us in our daily lives. Just take a moment now to think of some of the occasions where you failed to get the result you wanted by using the wrong words, or where you could have got a better result if the words had been more suited to the person you were talking to.

Each individual can only get information by seeing sights, hearing sounds, touching, smelling, tasting or having someone else describe it. Any experience, memory or processing of information has to be done through one or more of these six channels:

Visual (sights); Auditory (sounds); Kinaesthetic (physical feelings); Olfactory (odours); Gustatory (tastes); and digital (words). So, if you are eating a meal in a restaurant, you might see the food and the variance of colours on the table and other people around you; hear the clinking of their cutlery on the plates; smell the various aromas of the foods as they are served up; taste the flavours of the food that is eaten; be aware of conversations around you in the room.

Each experience or memory in our minds may include some or all of these elements. We each tend to have a pattern of which element we use the most or which we use first. We can only consciously use one element at a time, so we can easily notice which gets primary usage by anyone that we come into contact with. The patterns that we use the most then tend to show up with more frequency than others in our use of language. The markers are the descriptive words that I am going to highlight in a moment. Most people show a clear preference for one of the three main sets of visual, auditory or kinaesthetic words. The set used most by any individual is referred to as their primary system.

Let me give you an example of the kind of words I am talking about here;

Examples of Visual words are; see, look, flash, glare, shiny, brilliant, view, bright, picture, fade, ray etc.

Examples of Auditory words are; hear, sound, whisper, noise, quiet, listen, dissonant, song, thunder etc.

Examples of Kinaesthetic words are; feel, touch, grasp, tickle, hold, pressure, weigh, strike, painful etc.

A way to find out yours or a friends lead system is to talk for two minutes on a topic that you like and then for another two minutes about a topic you do not like, do it with a friend or record yourself and then note down all the words you used and put them into categories to note the main system that is used. It is good practice to look for what you use most and those that are used in conversations you have all the time with other people. This way you will heighten your own sensory acuity and sharpen your ability to spot those used by others more and more easily.

So the next stage of rapport development is to then begin to match the words used by those that you wish to gain with rapport wit in much the same way that we matched the non-verbal communication before. Develop a more appropriately frequent use of their primary system; punctuate your sentences with those types of words.

What you are doing here is stepping into their map of the world and demonstrating unconsciously that you are listening and valuing what they say and how they say it.

Once you have sufficiently matched and developed the primary system for developing rapport more easily, you can start doing some other things to develop rapport with language.

One thing to do with your language is to demonstrate that you are aware of their on-going reality. The most effective way to do this is stack truisms together. Let me explain that. By truism, I am referring to making a casual statement in a sentence that is true about the person that you are communicating with. For example; You are reading this article, you are breathing and you have yours eyes open. Now these are rather crudely obvious.

I entered a restaurant a little while ago and the staff were very pressured and busy. As we entered I said to the lady that greeted us "Hello there, I spoke to you earlier and booked a table in the name of Eason, I see you are very busy tonight, but I can tell that you are coping very well by the way everyone on that table you just served is smiling." Here, I stated 3 truisms, when you state three truisms, the other person will unconsciously process this as recognition that you sincerely see things from their perspective. We got some fantastic service that night I can tell you, and it was all founded on making that immediate rapport connection. I could have been an awkward customer from then on, but the waitress would still have enjoyed serving us as we had perfect rapport from the beginning.

Then you can think about how you can develop rapport by stating truisms (statements that cannot be disputed or argued with) about their experience in that moment. Notice and employ these very simple basic strategies and notice how rapport begins to happen much more easily.

by Adam Eason
References and Bibliography

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