How to Define Professional
Relationships in Rapport

By Geoffrey Ronning

Some people think rapport is facilitated with an insincere interest in others, or pretending to have similar interests. Others may think they are building rapport with a client by always agreeing with them, or being a "yes" person, and others will define rapport as changing their opinion to match their managers, or being over enthusiastic or pandering to them. None of these notions are correct.

In a word, rapport is defined as harmony in a relationship.

Think of a symphony. In order for the symphony to sound harmonious, they must
first practice together and work at developing affinity within the group. Without the rapport, or harmony, they are going to sound awful.

If you don't have harmony in your business relationships, they aren't going to lead to your desired end, whether it be acquiring a profitable client or getting the help you need in a project.

At a recent training program, a participant named Roy pointed out that he always knew right away if he would be doing business with the prospective client based on his initial relationship with the prospect. He said, "I just get a feeling that those prospects I get along with will become a client. Those prospect that I don't "click" with, I can be pretty sure I will not be doing business with them." What Roy was really doing was sabotaging his business by not creating the affinity needed for successful business transactions. He was relying on the gods of professional relationships to occasionally send him a prospect that was made to order for him. It's a shame, especially when Roy could have acquired the strategies to create rapport with everyone.

Think of a recent situation where you were introduced to a new business associate, a new person in the office, or a prospective client, and you immediately felt comfortable with them. You felt like you had known them for years and you could trust them emphatically. Like a symphony that is experiencing rapport, everything "clicked" together, and the relationship "worked." You were experiencing harmony in the relationship and you have, and will, benefit accordingly.

How Long Does it Take to Create a Professional Relationship in Rapport?

There aren't any rules or time frames for creating rapport or developing professional relationships. Sometimes creating relationship harmony takes months, or if you get lucky, it can happen quickly. The most important factor in creating rapport is acquiring the strategies so that you control the time frame for rapport to develop, then it can happen immediately. Finding the way to build harmony in a relationship can come in many different forms.

Recently at one seminar where I spoke, I achieved rapport with one participant by being argumentative, but not confrontational, with him. By doing this, we came to the ground where we understood each other, both of us felt our concerns had been heard, and our relationship became harmonious. Our relationship continues to grow to this day.

This particular relationship building strategy demonstration proved how powerful these tools can be, even in unlikely situations.

Relationships in Rapport are More Important Than Quality, Service Levels and Fees

Creating rapport is beneficial in person, or over the telephone. When you are in rapport with another person, both of you find it easy to be understood, and both feel each of your concerns are highly regarded by the other person. In addition, other typical business concerns such as fees, delivery times, service, quality, etc. become secondary.

One client I worked with did not understand how one of their potential customers could turn down his superior service, as opposed to his competitors. After doing some research, I found the potential customer had experienced a deep rapport with the competition, and even though my client was offering better service, the customer wanted to stay with my clients competition. The competition had developed a rapport with the customer, and the customer was not willing to put his trust into my client.

This example demonstrates why rapport is particularly important in business. People with whom we experience harmony are the individuals that will go the extra mile for us on completing tasks, make time to speak with us on the phone, make time to see us for an appointment, purchase from us and send business our way.

Why Don't We Always Create Long Term Professional Relationships with Rapport?

Why not create these types of relationships in each and every interaction? Why not increase the quality of our relationships, while at the same time increasing the quality of our business? The answer may be because we think it is unethical or we don¹t know how to create mutually beneficial relationships.

Creating these relationships is certainly not unethical. It can't be unethical, or there isn't harmony. You can never "use" people to accomplish your professional goals. Rapport is all about creating a mutually beneficial environment in which we respect, and build relationships with appreciation for our differences, and in spite of them. Rapport always leads to mutually beneficial outcomes and genuine professional relationships. Not acquiring these skills or considering any other types of professional relationships other than those in which both parties experience the harmony of rapport is to bank on a short-term, less productive and less rewarding future than you should.

Geoffrey Ronning is a speaker and consultant who teaches clients how to efficiently create professional relationships and improve employee relations.

This knowledge creates less hostile work environments with higher output
and teaches organizations how to quickly and easily acquire trust and
rapport to develop long term customers.

You can reach Geoffrey at: (623) 476-2437 or online via the contact page.

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Copyright © 2005 by Geoffrey Ronning. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Geoffrey Ronning Group, Inc. is prohibited. All logos are trademarks of Geoffrey Ronning Group, Inc.