NLP Rapport Techniques


There are nearly as many books written on rapport as there are on the whole of NLP. Rapport, to many authors seems to be a panacea for all communication problems, for seduction, and for business success in general.

In the NLP community, you could say rapports stock value has been dropping steadily for the last few years, but it is a useful skill.

In NLP, Rapport is simply about increasing the number of similarities between yourself and a client to allow them to relax and feel that you are like them.

Obviously we are only interested in elements that you have control over, but there are plenty of other elements that help rapport. For instance people of the same sex, religion, race, or who support the same football team have a head start.

There are numerous ways to gain rapport with someone, and the following elements can all be matched:

  • Breath rate
  • Voice tone, rhythm and volume
  • Sensory language (by matching sensory modalities)
  • Emotional matching (stay in the same emotional state)
  • Physical posture (i.e. if they've got crossed legs so have you. If you're sat opposite them you match on the opposite side - as if a mirror image)
  • Physical movements (i.e. pick up your glass or touch your hair at the same time)

The best way to improve your NLP rapport skills is to pick one element and practice matching in situations where you can relax and are not having to concentrate on anything else. This could be a situation such as in a queue or on a train.

Simply try matching with a nearby stranger.

The easiest way to notice if you have achieved your goal is if they suddenly become aware of you.

As with all NLP skill, the more you practice the better you will become.

Note on breath matching: If you're trying to match someone's breathing please do not stare at their chest! The best way to watch someone's breathing is to use your peripheral vision. It's not much of an excuse saying that you were practicing your NLP rapport skills!

So sit or stand next to them and keep your eyes ahead, just move your awareness to the blurry edge of your vision.

You will find that you can spot the movement much more easily.

This is due to the fact that peripheral vision deals specifically with movement.

Generally you will find that particular elements you match will have a stronger effect and that some combinations are easier to use than others. Posture matching while matching breaking is a good combination to work on.

It's important to spend time working on your NLP rapport skills. With practice you should find that rapport becomes automatic.



Previous comments

Sensory Language

I find that sensory language is one of the most powerful NLP rapport builders especially in sales. I like to use it with a tempo that matches the speakers own speech to be really effective.

Annie, York

Posted May 7, 2010 at 08:09


I agree. Sensory acuity has a profound effect on some people. Of all the NLP rapport skills, this one is also the easiest to learn to use well.

Chris Harrison, UK

Posted May 8, 2010 at 12:24