Contact/ Rapport

There are many idioms and sayings that describe what happens between two people who have a good connection: they can read each others minds, they have a direct line, they are on the same wavelength, they have a special chemistry, they sympathise etc.


When this is the case, meetings, talks and negotiations – even in which points of view and interests differ – go well and without problems.


But what can be done when this connection in the interpersonal relationship does not exist or has not been established?


The basic idea is:

This "picking-up" mostly happens when we successfully discover or produce as many things as possible that we have in common. The more we have in common with our partner, the easier it will be to establish a good connection with him. The first step in achieving this is “mirroring” your partner, thus making him feel generally accepted and understood. Only when this first step is accomplished can you begin to lead the dialogue.

The different levels on which you can “pick up” your partner:
1.    Content
It is essential to develop a basic understanding (to put yourself in your partner’s position, to empathize) of the arguments of your partner or counterpart in order to find out what you share and have in common with regard to your positions.
2. Body Language

Take up a similar physical position to the way your partner sits at the beginning of the talk, even adapting to the motorical elements or gestures of your partner. After a while of mirroring your partner, you change the way you sit in order to check if your partner "follows", which means that he adapts to your attitude. If he does this, you know that you can now take the lead in the dialogue.

3. Voice

It also makes sense to initially adapt to the tone of voice (and thus the mood) of your partner, e.g. with regard to volume, speed, rhythm, dialect, and preferred words).
4. Preferred Senses
You can have a very strong impact in “picking up” your partner if you succeed in presenting your arguments in a way which is suited to his preferred senses. This means, for example, using pictures if your partner is a very visual type or talking about feelings if your partner talks a lot about feelings and touches the things around him very often.


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