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How To Build Rapport: All Tips! [42 Do’s & Don’ts]

How To Build Rapport: All Tips! [42 Do’s & Don’ts]

How to build rapport? Rapport is the most important element to achieve results in communication, coaching, training, management, education, care, friendship… In this article you will learn what rapport is and how to build it. Often building rapport is done incorrectly by NLP students in training… Therefore, apply the three pro tips in this article, so that you get results faster!

Contents of this page:

What is rapport?

You must have experienced it at some point. You immediately had a click with someone and you could talk for hours about all kinds of different topics. A wonderful feeling for both of you. Maybe it started …

  • When you went to a weight loss club and said, “Who’s in the mood for cake!”
  • Or when you met a new foreign student and asked, “Do you miss all your family too?”
  • Or when you said to your fellow walkers after the Four Days Marches: ‘We made it!’

You felt that click, but what caused it? Because of the words you said, or because of something else? In any case, something or several things have caused that connection.

You will also have experienced that you met someone you could not go through one door at all, where communication was very difficult and you wanted to get out of the situation. But in most cases it is useful if you are able to connect with someone. For example with your boss or when you go to your in-laws for the first time.

Rapport is sometimes described as this magical feeling that you can or cannot experience from one person to another.

Other definitions of rapport


Other ways to describe rapport are:

  • Rapport is connection: the energy created between people when they are seen, heard and appreciated. When they can give and receive without judgment.
  • Rapport is a state of subconscious receptivity. So this is a state in which the other person responds to you non-verbally and unconsciously , so that there is less interference from the conscious mind. So you no longer look at the clock to determine: “Now is the time to sit with my legs crossed, because the other is now doing the same.”
  • Rapport is powerful communication with others and yourself.
  • You have rapport with yourself when you are congruent , so when your thoughts, feelings and behavior are in sync with each other.
  • You have rapport with other people if you are in sync with each other. There is then congruence between people. Example: synchrony in a dance.
  • By training your complete sensory acumen ( observation skills ) it becomes easier and easier to mirror a person.
  • You ‘become’ each other in the broadest sense of the word. The reason: people like people who are who they are.
  • Fast and deep contact.
  • Having a ‘click’ with each other.
  • Safety.
  • Trust.
  • With rapport there is a safe environment in which everything can be said. You can be yourself with the other and freely share your own views and opinions with the other. With rapport it is possible to thoroughly disagree with each other in the meantime, while it looks like you are in complete agreement with each other.
  • rapport is understanding. However, rapport does not mean that you agree!
  • Recognition of the situation.
  • Recognition of someone’s feelings and acceptance of your own feelings. If you feel tension before an event, you can accept that, for example, it gives a scary feeling in your gut, but at the same time you can know that it is nice to come.
  • Comfort.
  • Presence.
  • Openness. An atmosphere in which you would like to share.
  • Willingness to share because there are no barriers.
  • Willingness to follow each other.
  • Willingness to accept something from the other.
  • Willingness to do something for the other.
  • Willingness to interact and participate.
  • Listening and understanding.
  • A sense of being understood in combination with receptivity.
  • The circumstances to be able to put everything on the table and have good, open conversations. Without rapport, this type of communication is difficult.
  • Emotional involvement.
  • Interest, passion and enthusiasm: having a strong focus on something or someone.
  • Rapport comes from the French word ‘rapporter,’ which means ‘to bring back’. rapport is therefore mutual and it has an infectious effect!
  • It’s sympathy and …
  • It’s empathy. What you feel, the other feels when you are in rapport.
    So feel energy, pleasure, attraction, etc. to make the client feel the same too.
  • Speak the same (body) language.
  • Respect (for the world model of the other).
  • Tuning your own way of communicating to the internal experience and external behavior of the other.
  • Stepping into someone’s map of the world: flexibility / follow. You can change your client by first changing yourself. That is making rapport. Only after you have followed do you start leading so that others step into your map of the world.
  • Subconscious communication: something in the client says: aha!

Rapport is therefore a very broad concept. Nevertheless, it is important to understand it properly, because rapport comes before everything. Before you want to achieve anything, make sure you have rapport with yourself or with someone else. For example, use this to get more cooperation from your staff before making changes.

Rapport is the art of changing others by changing yourself.

You can consciously ‘switch on’ the rapport

In the clip above from Patch Adams, you can see how Patch chooses to fully respect his phobic roommate, rather than contradict his hallucinations. Finally someone who steps into Rudy’s world model . A nice demonstration of Ericksonian rapport and two minutes later Patch finally has his night’s sleep. Otherwise Rudy could have been nagging for hours.

Why would you make rapport?

report making tips

rapport is key to everything. It is sometimes said: “With rapport anything is possible, without rapport nothing is possible.” If you have it, you can get away with anything. For example, you can say that you do not agree with something, while maintaining the relationship. If you don’t have it, you can afford a lot less. In short: you have many more options for achieving something when you have rapport with someone.

Think of coaching: as soon as you have first built up a good connection and a sense of trust, you can work towards the intervention. By making rapport, you are first ‘pacing’, or following , in the behavior of the client.

Then you can start leading. The mirror neurons then ensure that the client follows you. Provided you have completed your tracking task first, you can then ensure that the client is guided like a puppet doll by a force outside him. You feel the other in the broadest sense of the word: empathetic resonance.

Rapport makes communication and leadership easy.

Why not make rapport? It’s easier to say no due to (the absence of) rapport

Of course, you don’t have to become best friends with everyone. Sometimes it is very useful to be able to break rapport, for example if you want to get rid of an annoying sales person quickly. Or if you sit next to someone during your bus, train or air journey who just won’t stop talking to you.

By breaking rapport, you say no without actually saying no.

Also deliberately break the rapport to make it easier to say no a little later or to stop saying no at all .. Maybe you won’t even have to say no anymore because the other person has already picked up the message. These ways can break your rapport:

  • Take all risky, but well-intentioned, statements as insulting: “Excuse me!”
  • Stand wide with arms at your sides.
  • Arms crossed.
  •  Talk in the other person ‘s opposite preferred predicates . If it is highly visual: talk with auditory terms.

What’s the most brilliant thing about rapport? That the words you say make very little difference. So if you don’t feel like being a street vendor, you can just show interest with your words, but violently mismatch your body language. You can even act like a junkie or camper who says he’s interested in the salesperson, but the neat salesperson will want to run away from the total lack of rapport.

You can also say no by actually building up rapport. This is also called ‘disarming empathy’.

  • First you summarize what he said.
  • You can then express your appreciation for the seller’s product, say that you feel honored, that you really appreciate him asking you, and say that the seller’s price is phenomenal.
  • Then you can say the ‘no’. You say you don’t want to buy it.

Read here about saying no properly.

How do you build rapport? All do’s and don’ts


Read all about how you can make a rapport in the following paragraphs. Then the don’ts are also discussed. Good to know: metaphorically speaking, your words only make up 7% of your communication. Most of the tips from this article therefore focus on feeling and body language. In addition, your calibration skills come in handy when creating rapport.

Do’s to build rapport

1. Mirroring / matching: the most obvious way

The most obvious way to make rapport is ‘matching’.  Make sure you do the mirroring ingeniously (matching), instead of simply imitating the other person (mirroring). If the other is scratching, you don’t have to scratch for rapport. It could be more subtle. Let’s start with 4 ways the experienced programmers do this.

Here are the four main principles for subtle mirroring:

  1. Only mirror the energy level (mood) of the other, and not literally the behavior of the other. In fact, this is the best way to flip. Rapport = empathy, so also mirror the emotional state.
  2. You can also mirror extra discreetly by doing it with a delay . When it is your turn to talk, you only change position or make the other person’s gestures, and you do that while talking.
  3. Cross over flip . If someone is fumbling with their hair, you do that with your pants. Are his legs crossed? Then cross your arms. In the situation where you want to calm someone who is hyperventilating, you can match the rhythm with your hands.
  4. Mirror the large movements of the client by translating them into micro-muscle movements yourself . When the other person lifts their arm, you lift your arm muscles very slightly, without this being visible. This way you stay out of the  conscious attention of the other.

Other possibilities for mirroring: physiology

  • The build of a person’s body.
  • The tilt of a person’s head.
  • (Emotional) facial expression. For example, that of a child who is peeking: then you just peek back with the same facial expression.
  • Physiological rhythms: if someone is tapping something with their feet, you can mirror that rhythm by doing something similar with your hand with the same rhythm.
  • Gestures: if someone makes large or small gestures, you do the same. If someone does not make any gestures, you also keep your hands completely still.
  • Position and movement of the legs.
  • Body language and energy level. The sub-communication is then: “Aha you are not one of those people (gesturing in the air) but one of these (arms hanging down quietly)!” During an episode of the American TV program Impractical Jokers, one of the Jokers was ordered to find a roommate. It went perfectly for him, because when the visitor entered he immediately reflected the energy level in his voice, face and gestures. Within a minute they were in perfect sync, jumping on the couches laughing loudly.
  • Breathing. You can also mirror this by, for example, tapping the table to the same rhythm and then slowly leading to a slower tempo. You can also place your hand on the client’s shoulder and press more or less when inhaling and exhaling. Press less and less when inhaling. For example, children can be calmed down. So you don’t always have to literally mirror. That’s called crossover mirroring. You can also turn on your peripheral vision to be able to perceive someone’s breathing, making it easier to match.

Other options for mirroring: words

  • Use the sensory preference of your conversation partner in your language. This is expressed through  predicates . if the client says, “It was beautiful and picturesque,” don’t say, “Wow, it must have felt really good.” But: “Wow, I could imagine what a clear view you must have had there”. This is the linguistic equivalent of matching gestures and posture.
  • Take over other characteristics of the representation system in which the other is currently in.
  • Also use their sensory strategy that appears in their story. For example: feel feel see feel (kkvk).
  • Literally mirror language: try to learn a few words of the other person’s language (if the other speaks another language).
  • Their personal trance words.  You know those people who constantly say “dude”? If you also use ‘bloke’, you already have extra rapport. How do you recognize personal trance words? The other will often repeat them and / or emphasize these words, because they are fraught. Recognize them! Then you repeat their words exactly, because those are their trance words. For example, if you want to make a stressed client feel good again, you can use her trance words and her pleasure anchors that she already has. If her words such as “super” and “energy” are you saying, “You know, it is interesting that when you meet someone you super much energythat could lead to a completely new direction? ” Look up the personal trance words in advance via the social media or blog of your client. The values of the other are also personal trance words.
    Example: one of the characters in the TV series “Better Call Saul” was constantly saying the word “American”. When Saul Goodman wanted to persuade him not to, he said, “That’s very unamerican.”

Other options for mirroring: voice

  • Talk rate. An incorrect example: Telemarketer: “Blablablabla (fast).” “Customer: what … is … it exactly … what … you are … talking about …?”
  • Speaking volume.
  • Rhythm: regular or irregular, fast or slow, number of pauses, long or short pauses.
  • Tonality: monotonous or multi-tone.
  • Pitch.
  • Accent or dialect.
  • Markers or emphases.

Other options for mirroring: using calibration

  • Everything you calibrate.  Observe carefully and notice: does the person blush, does she have a radiant face because she manages to relax her face, does she blink otherwise? Does she have faster or slower breathing? You can see the latter through the chest, for example.

Before we move on to the next tip, it is good to know that the above tip can certainly mean that two people are in an arguing position and therefore have correct rapport. In a loving relationship, the partners can argue and be insanely strong in rapport at the time.

For example, Grinder was once in New York waiting for someone to take him to the plane by car, when he decided to ask a taxi along the street what time it is. The taxi driver’s response was immediate: ‘F you!’ So Grinder decided to hide his middle finger in his hand for two minutes and look at it very carefully. ‘What is this? I’ve never seen this in my life! ‘ This aroused the interest of the taxi driver. ‘What have you got there?’ And the middle finger came out. Thirty seconds later, Grinder heard the taxi driver shout, “It’s ten past three.”

2. Tune in to someone’s meta programs


  • Also consider their meta programs when creating Rapport. If someone is detail-oriented, make small gestures and explain your ideas in small steps. If someone thinks in bigger chunks, make big gestures with your whole arm and talk more broadly. Do this with the other meta programs that people may have.

2. Tune in to the abstraction level of the other (logical levels)

If someone is only talking about concrete, superficial matters, then you should not suddenly start talking on the more abstract levels of capacities, values, identity and mission. Otherwise misunderstanding and confusion may arise.

Suppose the other person is only talking about environment – such as things, groceries, hair dye – and behavior – such as shopping and cleaning. Then you are not going to talk about knowledge management, social contribution, goals and dreams.

So recognize at what level you communicate and at what level your conversation partner communicates. There are two useful tools for recognizing levels of abstraction in a conversation:

Are you talking on a different level? Do you talk past each other because you are on different levels of abstraction? Pay attention and tune in to where the other person is so that you can communicate on the same level. You can of course also slowly increase the level . See next tip …

3. Climb up the neurological levels in style

You can build rapport on all logical levels of Dilts / Bateson , but you usually only see people making rapport on the low levels. Even in relationships you see this: “What are you going to do today?” ‘This.’ ‘You?’ ‘Which.’ ‘Bye!’

Deep connections are possible if you can lead someone up to higher logical levels. When you talk to someone who only talks at the lower levels of abstraction, you can very slowly lead the other up, level by level.

  • Slowly but surely climb to the higher logical levels of Dilts in the conversation. From environment to behavior, to capacities, to beliefs & values, to identity and maybe even to mission.
  • Think and ask: What is most important to this person right now? Sincerely try to find out what is important to the other person. Start understanding others instead of expecting them to understand you first.

4. Ask how the other person is doing and apply your listening skills

Use more listening skills, such as:

  • Letting go of your own perception and ego and exploring the perception of the other with genuine curiosity. This takes practice.
  • Let the other finish.
  • To be interested in the other.
  • Encourage the other to share more. Then you can in the meantime discover even more patterns, such as the predicates that the other uses.
  • Being with the other person with your full attention so that you can really hear and understand what the other person is saying.
  • And use even more listening skills!

5. Use the NLP principle of naming the positive, common intention

  • Look for the other person’s positive intention (the underlying intention) and don’t pay much attention to what the person is doing or saying. She may not understand everything, but assume she has her heart in the right place. Every behavior has a positive intention. Even if someone is negative towards you, you can look for the positive intention.
  • Naming the similarities: “You know Tom, you and I want the same thing. We are both parents. We both want x, we both want y, we both want z. Where we differ is the way in which we want to achieve those goals. ”
  • Observe and listen carefully! Look for similarities. For example, common experiences and associations.

6. Have a state of respect and love for yourself and for others

This tip is especially useful for building rapport with groups while giving presentations,  and will automatically give you a soft voice and a warm, fluid, and loving presence. Then anything is possible. You could also see this as compassion , but more in an NLP style. Use the following steps:

  1. Respect the world model, time, energy, favorite people and money of the other. These are important resources for the other.
  2. Feel love for yourself and love for the other.
  3. Feel a sourceful intention for yourself and a sourceful intention for the other.
  4. Focus on your rapport skills.
  5. Calibrate.

7. Assume the so called second perception position (empathy and flexibility)

  • Use the second observation position: step into the world model of the other by, for example, asking what he is doing at that moment. Bonus Tip: People love to talk about the action they’re doing at that precise moment.
  • Use all the tips to show more empathy .
  • Flexibility: let go of your own frame of reference and step into that of someone else. Use their language, words, beliefs, attitude, arguments, etc. to achieve anything. The person with the most flexibility in a situation or system has the most control and influence and will eventually win. For example, is there a loud screeching, spoiled child? The solution is a louder screeching mother. With this she mirrors the child and shows it what she is doing wrong. So mirror and adjust yourself to the energy level of the other.
  • You assume the meta-program ‘sorting by other’ while paraphrasing. See the following tip:

8. Paraphrasing and echoing

  • Paraphrasing: repeating the other’s message in other words. You can say in advance: “I just want to make sure I understand it correctly”. Then you can paraphrase. There is a great risk that you will break the correct rapport by choosing the wrong words that have a completely different meaning for the other person.
  • Echoing, on the other hand, is always good: literally repeating what he says. Then you can’t be wrong. This is also called backtracking.

9. Involve emotions

Create emotions for rapport

  • Describe the emotions or moods that match what the person is saying.

10. Use ‘open loops’ and ‘nested loops’

  • Post ‘rapport baits’ to invite others to invest in the conversation by making it easy for them to show interest and ask questions.
  • How do you post a ‘rapport bait’? Do this by not providing all the information . So leave holes on purpose.
  • For example: “I was walking to a concert yesterday when I suddenly saw Jan walking.” The other can now ask: “Which concert did you go to?” Another example: “When I was in Schiphol I suddenly got a very cool idea …!” “What were you doing in Schiphol?”
  • People can come right back and easily approach you again with questions about what you have said before. At the same time, this has a ‘fractionating effect’ because the topic of conversation is constantly being changed. Nice bonus! Salespeople use this technique when they have to deal with voicemail and want a 100% callback. Give them a call and leave a message saying you have found or discovered something important to say. Start describing it and hang it in the middle of your sentence. They will call you back as soon as possible. Use a problem with the phone as an excuse and you are now interested in your story.

11. ‘Assume friendship’

  • Assume there is already rapport between you. Pretend it’s your best friend. How do you deal with your best friend? Act exactly like this with the person you want rapport with. It is contagious. If you have difficulty with this, you can notice the sense of friendship in your body. Where do you feel that in your body? Color it and enlarge it.

12. Visualize rapport

  • Imagine there is a sphere around you with a blanket of rapport, to feel such intense emotions with that person. The other will automatically feel it because of the infectious effect. Proceed like this:
  1. Determine what feeling you are going for. For example: openness or warmth.
  2. Step into the world of the other person, or build a rapport according to the aforementioned methods.
  3. Continue until the feeling of rapport grows strong in you.
  4. Imagine that there is a radiant sphere around you full of energy and openness.
  5. Visualize the sphere opening and expanding until it covers both of you.
  6. Amplify the visual and tactile aspects of the sphere until it is as strong as you want it to be.
  7. Forget this bubble of openness. Now focus on all other aspects of the interaction, the above pretend technique can be of great help in all kinds of situations. For example, pretend someone is the most important movie star in the world and be amazed at how much politeness, focus and attention you give that person. Or pretend everyone has an angel halo above them and has angel wings (including yourself).
  • You can also use another powerful visualization technique: use the submodality ‘location’ to put the image you have of a stranger on the location of the image you have of a friend. The other person will then automatically feel like a friend to you.

13. Be in the here-and-now with full attention to the other

  • Give your full attention to the person you are talking to and focus fully. You are completely in the here-and-now with the other. Elon Musk is known for this. He maintains the focus he has with you even after a very long time computing. Nothing is worse than eyes looking behind you to see if someone more interesting is present.
  • What is one way to achieve this? By staying in your body (instead of your head). You do that by grounding yourself. Connect your energy to the ground. The earth nourishes us, calms us, helps us with our emotions and keeps us in our bodies.
  • Another way is sensory acumen. Pay attention to everything and everyone around you – be aware. Turn your attention outward, turn on your peripheral vision, and be aware of the energy around you and how it affects you.

14. Yes and!

  • Say ‘yes, and’ instead of ‘yes, but’. To say ‘yes’ is to follow. You paraphrase or echo what your conversation partner says. To say ‘and’ is to lead. Then you lead with your ideas and encouragements. In the  Milton Model , ‘and’ are always used instead of ‘but’. This principle is the agreement framework, as explained in the article on follow and lead.

15. Smile! Have a soft loving energy

  • Have a smile. Or even better, have a bright, mischievous, awake smile. You get that when you are in contact with your intuition. You then have a soft, loving energy with radiant eyes. You matter. You radiate passion and: ‘meaning in life!’

16. Be intuitive, because a click is often a pure ‘lucky strike’

  • A 100% pure click with someone is often a pure ‘ lucky strike’ . And not everyone can get fluke. You get these kinds of ‘ synchronicities ‘ if you let yourself be guided by your intuition. Sometimes your heart (your intuition) gives you something to do or not to do. If you follow your intuition, heart-to-heart communication can arise just like that. Here you will find 89+ tips to follow your intuition.

17. Meet people over and over again as a new person

  • If you run into someone you already know, don’t meet a walking personal history. Don’t be concerned with what you know or think about the other person. Let every meeting with people be fresh. What is their energy? Their emotion? Tune in humans.
  • How? Put your hand on your stomach. Take a deep breath in and out. Slowly. Stay sensory sharp and always notice something new about the other. With attention.

18. Focus on the center of your heart or your stomach

  • This tip is very simple, soothing and very effective. When you are in conversation with someone, you can choose to move your attention away from logic to the center of your heart.  Feel and see what is there – often you will feel emotions there. Because there is infinite love, warmth and strength. When you do that, everything will automatically be fine: the conversation and the degree of rapport. From here you can ‘know’: ‘What feels relevant now, in this second, to say or do?’
  • You can also choose to focus on your stomach. Take a deep breath in and out. This automatically gives you full attention to the other. Also focus on the feeling (‘aura’) that you receive from the other. In addition, breathe with the other while doing this.
  • Another option is to imagine a line from the center of your brain, through the back of your throat, through your heart, down through the center of your body to your groin . With your skin, body and mind so wide open, your full attention will be on your conversation partner and the other person will notice.

I can see you in this moment. And in this moment you are present – and not thinking. There is nothing to think about. I am not preparing what I am going to say. It just comes out.  Now you are the space that  everyone  is. Now you are connected to everything.

19. Model someone who already has rapport with this person

  • Do you know people who have already successfully built rapport with this person? What can you learn from them? What is their background? What other help can you use? What is the first step?

20. Share your sorrows, or your vulnerability

  • Rapport means deep connection. And how do you make a deep connection? Via vulnerability.  Show your weaknesses and talk about them. Feel free to share things about yourself that are a little bit sad and vulnerable. Just keep in mind that true vulnerability is expressed in actions , such as offering a hug or taking other risks. Just telling someone your misery is not a vulnerability!
  • Because then suddenly love and connection appear. You have shared something vulnerable and that creates recognition and deep connections and this is an invitation for the other to do the same. At difficult times in life, people (such as lovers or close friends) come together.

21. Speak loud and clear

  • This point seems to contradict a previous point because you want to use the same volume as your conversation partner with rapport. However, if your words can’t even reach the other person because your volume is too low, it will be very difficult to communicate with each other. If you cannot be understood, making rapport is difficult.
  • Moreover, even if you whisper, it is possible to convey your message clearly and even ‘loudly’ to the other person. Use attention and send your words crystal clear, loud and clear to the other person.

Rapport-do’s 22 t/m 37

report do's

  • Tune in to the other’s values. You can do this by asking his or her values and then simply mentioning them a number of times.
  • Be vulnerable and give compliments.
  • Sit next to someone or at a 90 degree angle. Rivalry communicates with each other. Are you sitting opposite each other? Rotate the seat 90 degrees.
  • A teacher or supervisor can sit in between everyone on entry instead of in the leadership position. Make eye contact and mingle with everyone.
  • Removing barriers between you and the conversation partner, such as a large plant on the table that sits between you. You can also grab a chair and sit closer.
  • Introducing yourself to someone directly contributes to the degree of rapport.
  • Use the words ‘you’, ‘we’ and ‘us’ instead of ‘I’ and ‘me’.
  • Match your clothes to the clothes of the other.
  • Make the rituals and habits of the other your own.
  • Go all the way. If it is an unruly child you want to build rapport with, then act unruly. If it is a dog you want to build rapport with, bark. If it is a child with a speech impediment, then step completely into the world model of the child and talk with sounds instead of words. This is the ultimate gesture of respect!
  • Another way to make it easier for the other person to build a rapport with you is to make your name clear repeatedly. If the client has forgotten your name, you have helped her to remember your name better. For example, repeat your name a few times at the introduction, make it clear how you spell it, or tell an anecdote about yourself in the third person: “And then Rolf said to me:” Bart boy, I had never looked at it that way. “
  • Never think that you are ‘too good’ for someone to build rapport with. If someone prefers to talk on a superficial level, and you, on a higher level, adapt to the other. This shows flexibility. You always have the choice to build rapport with this person, and you always have the choice not to.
  • Also tune in to the other’s walking pace: synchronize your footsteps so that they are in sync with the other. Nobody will be able to catch you on this, while it has an immediate effect.
  • Utilize someone’s metaphors . Someone says, “We’re going to fight this to the end.” Then you connect your metaphor to that: ‘Good plan: we are going to win the battle with extra ammunition.’
  • Become soft, fluid, warm and without  judgment … in other words, become charismatic.
  • Do you want to build rapport with a whole group? Then recognize the informal leader of the group. Do the rest only laugh at a joke after the informal leader laughs? Then you have spotted the informal leader! This is the person with whom you have to build rapport, because then you immediately have rapport with the rest of the group.

The 6 Biggest Don’ts (Rapport Errors)

report errors

NLP is an art. If you apply it too mechanically, you will go wrong. Here are the six biggest rapport errors.

  1. Some people want to use ‘listening techniques’ by asking too many questions so that they no longer answer the questions of the client themselves. Answer with a fact, a personal note and only then do you bounce the question back or ask a new question. For example, “What did you do this weekend?” “I’ve been gardening (fact), that always relaxes me (personal note), what did you do this weekend? (only now comes a question) ”
  2. Be too nice. Still keep telling them if they do something that you don’t find acceptable. So keep on conditioning them.
  3. Trying too hard. Go along with the natural rhythm.
  4. Too badly wanting something, for example a salesman. The solution is rapport fractionation: immediately after building a report, you can remove the report and break it again. You repeat this a few times.
  5. No rapport with yourself. So don’t be congruent in yourself before trying to make another rapport. So be genuinely interested with accompanying body language.
  6. The rapport is not broad enough, but focuses on just one topic of conversation. The solution is to start on more topics of conversation on which to build your rapport.

Perhaps the biggest rapport mistake is the literal mirroring … Forget everything about ‘imitating the other person’ and only take the same energy from the other.

  • If someone has an energy that is a bit loose and playful, then I am also loose and playful.
  • If someone is tight and businesslike, then I also remain rigid and businesslike in everything I say and do.
  • When a woman comes to me seductively, I return seductively.
  • Does my boss warn me about an annoying customer? “But she is a very difficult customer, no one can get her.” Then I act rebellious too. When I hear her speak in a loud, blunt and urgent voice, I speak back with an equally harsh and compelling sten. Had I put on a sweet ‘customer care voice’ she would have been annoyed.

Test if you have rapport (Essential)

Now that you have made rapport, it is time to test whether you actually have report. You achieve this by making a non-matching (thus leading) movement. For example, by taking a deep breath. If all goes well, the other will automatically participate! If so, you have successfully tested that you have rapport. So you test for unconscious receptivity and suggestibility.

When someone is huddled, with their arms folded and with little energy, you can first tune in (follow) the other by sitting in the same posture and energy. Little by little you change your own posture (upright, arms apart) and you will notice that the character of the conversation will change (lead).

This is also a fun way to find out if someone is watching you because they like you. If you are in a busy place, group, restaurant or party, look very clearly at your watch. Point to your watch and nod thoughtfully. Over-acting is fine in this situation. If someone is watching you, the other will suddenly have a tendency to want to know the time as well. This person will look at their own watch, phone, or wall to find a clock.

Introductory exercises for rapport


The exercises below should be done before the explanation above, to introduce the subject ‘rapport‘.

Rapport Exercise 1 – Making a Click

Do this assignment with your practice partner or find someone you don’t know yet. Consider telling that person that you are doing a homework exercise and that both of you should be actively doing your best. The assignment is:

Make a click / connection with each other.

You get 1 minute.

Rapport Exercise – 2 Similarities and 2 Differences

Talk to your practice partner. Find 2 similarities and 2 differences between you.

You get 5 minutes.

Rapport exercise 3 – Use the logical levels

Repeat the previous exercise, but now use the logical levels as inspiration . Maybe you were just looking at the environmental level at first.

And now practice making rapport


Exercise 1 – Dispute on the content, while maintainng rapport in the form

Being receptive to one another does not necessarily mean agreeing with another’s opinion. Now that you know how to make rapport, you can use it in a discussion.

  1. Person A and B are discussing a topic. They don’t give in to each other and always go against each other.
  2. Person B matches her body and voice, while they disagree. Person A is just herself and holds her position.
  3. Person A will feel that it is impossible not to go to some sort of compromise, because person B matches. What is happening here is as they say in English: agree to disagree. There is a kind of vibe of peace and friendship, although the two of you completely disagree.

Example of the topic of conversation: A huge shopping center is being built in your neighborhood.

B: “I think it’s a good idea”

A: “I don’t think so, there is a lot of extra traffic which is unsafe for the children”

B: “There will indeed be some extra traffic, which makes it a bit less safe for the children (B has paraphrased here, which serves as the perfect moment to subtly take over the posture, voice characteristics and other things from A) but they have thought of that”

A: “There will be traffic jams”

B: “There will indeed be traffic jams, but that will bring extra income”


Read this next:  [Tips] How To Build Friendship (And Strengthen & Maintain It)

Exercise 2 – Agreement on the content, but the form contains no rapport

  1. Now the opposite is happening. B and A agree.
  2. B wrong matches A, for example by talking far too loudly and quickly with respect to A, moving much too animatedly, putting far too much enthusiasm into her energy, crossing her arms or sitting wide with her arms while A is very narrow and open. If necessary, test different energies: an energy that is much too enthusiastic compared to A and then an energy that is much too low and slow.
  3. Try to stay in the conversation, but A will feel the urge to walk away. It feels like not both noses are on the same page, although you are in complete agreement with each other. Even echoing and paraphrasing will not work from B’s side, because the energy and body language have too strong an effect.


A: “What shall we do about that highway?”

B: “I’m on your side man!” “We’re going to gather the whole neighborhood to protest!”

A: “Uhmm okay. The neighborhood … yes … that’s a good idea … I think. ”

B: “YES we are going to gather the whole neighborhood!”

Exercise 3 – Make rapport by matching sensory descriptions in the other’s language

Sensory descriptions in language are called ” predicates .” You will pay attention to this in this exercise.

In any case, an NLP person is attentive to predicates in someone’s language. The other says: ‘I lean very much against the VVD. I hear Rutte talking and I feel  comfortable with that. ‘ An NLP would then automatically ring a bell 3 times. Kinesthetic – Auditory – Kinesthetic. The NLP person could then literally lean back and say: ‘I would do what feels right . And listen to what gives you a balanced feeling. ‘

  1. B has a chat with A, and can start with, for example, “Tell me about something you like to do, what do you really enjoy?”
  2. A tells, for example, about his hobby of dancing.
  3. B Starts to match the sensory language (from the list VAKOG) of A. Do this for 3 minutes. You can also match sequences, for example VVK V.

“What about dancing exactly what you like?”
“I really like the feel of the rhythm. I saw it on TV. ”
“So it was really the movements of the feeling of the rhythm, it was really in your body”
“Yes and sometimes you really go up and sometimes you really go down”
“Sus sometimes really lifted and tight, and sometimes really low and sinking into the hips and legs and then you can relax in them. Wow tell me more about it ”

  1. Then you start mismatching. 2 minutes. If B starts talking in emotional words, after A has just talked in visual words for a while, A will probably be able to say something like: “What…. What did you say? Sketch me a different picture ”
  2. Then match again. 1 minute.
  3. Switch roles.

Exercise 4 – Do the eye pattern rapport exercise

Check out this article on eye patterns and do the accompanying rapport exercise.

Exercise 5 – Working on your rapport skills

  1. Have someone give feedback on your rapport skills. This person is observing you while you are talking. What attitude are you and your conversation partner in? What do you hear from the use of voice? What do you notice about your breathing? The feedback provider then provides his suggestions by means of the feedback model.  Then you set a goal for the next situation.
  2. In the next situation where your report is going to build, tell your feedback providers what your goal is. During the interview, you focus on this rapport goal. Based on the feedback you can determine whether you have successfully worked on this goal!

Exercise 6 – Practice rapport in the wild

Make rapport with a stranger. Provide a relatively long contact. Also observe yourself for feedback.
Variation: rapport with someone you don’t like.
Variation: Make rapport while having a challenging conversation, such as a conflict, someone you have a disagreement with, someone you don’t have good contact with, or a difficult question for you.

Exercise 7 – Rapport as a team

Suppose you are going to sell a product with a group of three people at another company, where 3 people are also waiting for you. Before the conversation starts, agree which of your team will match a person from the other team. That’s how you divide it so that everyone has a partner to match. Agree a signal to move through twice, so that there is rapport at the entire table.

Good luck with practicing rapport and finally see what Tony Robbins says about this

In conclusion: you could say that rapport is the most important thing to achieve what you want. ‘With rapport anything is possible, without rapport nothing is possible’. So also focus on the degree of rapport while giving feedback. In what ways do you build or break rapport? Let me know in the comments.

About The Author


Hello! Thanks for reading these articles. My intention is to make happiness as simple and clear as posssible. By the way, excuse my English. I am not a native English speaker since I live in Amsterdam. Much appreciated if you use the comments to make suggestions on my grammar. See ya in another blogpost!