I was recently asked about building rapport with questions.
I don’t think about specific questions I ask to build rapport. I allow the context of the conversation lead my questions. A business context will yield different questions than a social situation.
However, there is a structure specific to building rapport with questions. They’re used by all great communicators. And anyone can learn to use them to build a deep rapport.
I began to notice this years ago when my bride laughed at me as we were leaving a store. She said, “You get people to tell you some of the most bizarre things about their life. I mean, these are things they probably don’t tell anyone. They just open up to you and tell you everything. It’s funny.”
It can be funny. And it is easy to do.
Building Rapport Key: The Art of Listening
Owning an arsenal of questions to quickly build rapport is only important when you have the ability to hear what’s being said. If your intention is ‘building rapport‘ with questions and you don’t listen to the answers, you won’t reach your goal.
Push away all your distractions and listen!
Ignore your text messages and Facebook alerts. Stop looking away each time you catch someone walking by in the corner of your eye.
Pay attention to who you’re talking with.
Turn down the volume on all the thoughts in your head.
Don’t interrupt because you think you know what they’re going to say. Suspend all judgment and personal beliefs.
Allow the information to flow into your ears, and catalog what’s being said before you think about any of it.
Then, pause for a second.
Think about the person’s answer. Don’t just listen to the words. Listen to was said and, more importantly, what is not being said.
What’s assumed by the words a person is using? What has to be true for someone to answer your question this way? (Understanding presuppositions in language will help you with this.)
I can’t emphasize how important listening is. Listening may be more important today than ever.
Today, everyone is distracted with technology and everything flashing by quickly. When someone truly listens to you it is a rare thing. This amplifies your rapport building.
What Are Solid Rapport Building Questions?
The simple answer, don’t ask question that can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” You want to ask open ended questions and get the person talking.
These are the “who, what, where, when, why, and how” questions.
I wish there was a set of magical rapport building questions I could ask. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
On the other hand. It is almost that easy.
Ask open ended questions and pay attention. Once you get out of your own way, gaining and maintaining rapport becomes easy.