Rapport is a term used to describe, in common terms, the relationship of two or more people who are in sync or on the same wavelength because they feel similar and/or relate well to each other.

It stems from an old French verb rapporter which means literally to carry something back; and in the sense of how people relate to each other means that what one person sends out the other sends back, for example they may realise that they share similar values, beliefs, knowledge, or behaviors around sports or politics.

There are a number of techniques that are supposed to be beneficial in building rapport such as: matching
In the mathematical discipline of graph theory, a matching or independent edge set in a graph is a set of edges without common vertices. It may also be an entire graph consisting of edges without common vertices.- Definition :...

 your body language
Body language
Body language is a form of non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals almost entirely subconsciously....

 (i.e., posture
Human position
Human positions refers to the different positions that the human body can take.There are several synonyms that refer to the human position, often used interchangeably, but having specific flavors....

, gesture
A gesture is a form of non-verbal communication in which visible bodily actions communicate particular messages, either in place of speech or together and in parallel with spoken words. Gestures include movement of the hands, face, or other parts of the body...

, etc.); maintaining eye contact
Eye contact
Eye contact is a meeting of the eyes between two individuals.In human beings, eye contact is a form of nonverbal communication and is thought to have a large influence on social behavior. Coined in the early to mid-1960s, the term has come in the West to often define the act as a meaningful and...

; and matching breathing rhythm
Rhythm may be generally defined as a "movement marked by the regulated succession of strong and weak elements, or of opposite or different conditions." This general meaning of regular recurrence or pattern in time may be applied to a wide variety of cyclical natural phenomena having a periodicity or...


A classic if unusual example of rapport can be found in the book Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley
Jay Haley
Jay Douglas Haley was one of the founding figures of brief and family therapy in general and of the strategic model of psychotherapy, and he was one of the more accomplished teachers, clinical supervisors, and authors in these disciplines.-Life and works:Conceived in a log cabin on his family's...

, about the psychotherapeutic intervention techniques of Milton Erickson. Erickson developed the ability to enter the world view of his patients and, from that vantage point (having established rapport), he was able to make extremely effective interventions (to help his patients overcome life problems).

Building rapport

Building rapport is one of the most fundamental sales techniques. In sales, rapport is used to build relationships with others quickly and to gain their trust and confidence. It is a very powerful tool that veteran salespeople naturally employ, which allows them to close more deals with less effort.



Mirroring means getting into rhythm with the person on as many levels as possible.

Emotional Mirroring - Empathizing with someone's emotional state by being on 'their side'. You must apply the skill of being a good listener in this situation so as you can listen for key words and problems that arise when speaking with the person. This is so you can talk about these issues and question them to better your understanding of what they are saying and show your empathy towards them (Arnold, E and Boggs, K. 2007).

Posture mirroring - Matching the tone of a person's body language not through direct imitation, as this can appear as mockery, but through mirroring the general message of their posture and energy.

Tone and Tempo Mirroring - Matching the tone, tempo, inflection, and volume of a person's voice.


Giving gifts or doing favors without asking for something in return triggers feelings of obligation


Commonality is the technique of deliberately finding something in common with a person or a customer in order to build a sense of camaraderie and trust.
This is done through shared interests, dislikes, and situations.

Further reading

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