It was very early in my life that I started to study NLP, and along with it, I learned about rapport: the connection that we establish with others, so that we can communicate better, understand better, make ourselves understood and, this way, open space for the results we wish for to flow out of every interaction.
Like everything else in NLP, rapport is something that we all have in us, that we all do with excellence and naturally. Being in rapport with someone is just that feeling we have when we are talking to our best friends in life, when we start saying the same thing simultaneously or noticing that we are naturally sitting on a very same position. This happens because we are connected, and by being connected, we reach very similar internal states, we start to be able to find common points of view and allow ourselves to better explore someone else’s model of the world.
Bandler and Grinder didn’t invent rapport… they just noticed it, studied it, and wrote theories, so that we could be aware of how relevant it is to try and build a connection with people when we want to have healthy relationships, regardless if it is personal, professional, commercial… any relationship.
One of the reasons why I fell in love with this learning is because rapport is all about respect. Rapport is about allowing ourselves to explore someone else’s world. It is like travelling to a different city and allowing ourselves to visit each site, to notice the beauty, to appreciate the dynamics, even when everything is so different from our own model of the world. After all, how well will I really experience a different world if I keep trying to make it look just like mine? How much can I learn about something new, if I only want to impose my truth?
Constantly nourishing our ability to build rapport is one of the exercises that will bring magic into life. Practicing this requires us to pace ourselves with others, and not make them pace themselves with us. Allowing for ourselves to just pace with others, and ride the wave with them is a discovery journey. After all, if I keep riding my own wave, I will keep re-learning what I already know.
Bandler and Grinder were able to map exactly what you have to do to establish rapport with a person, or a group of people. Anyone can do it anytime… but, really, rapport is all about having the right attitude: an attitude of curiosity. Only by having a genuine curiosity to learn about a person’s view of the world, regardless of how it might differ from ours, can we establish relationships that are meaningful, long lasting, and energizing to our lives.
Needless to say, of course Canada has the rapport attitude embedded in its DNA. A country truly diverse, where different is the normal. How else is it possible to live in a place like this, if you are not curious to learn from this fascinating diversity? How else is it possible to embrace, to respect other models of the world if not with tons of rapport?
Having gone through a few winters here expanded my notions of rapport to a whole new level. Rapport goes way beyond connecting with people, when it comes to your ability to be happy. Want to be happy in a Canadian winter? Embrace it! Be curious about it! Experience it to its fullest. Pace yourself with it, dress dry, dress warm and go.
When you live in Vancouver, you know it is going to rain for 6 months. You can either choose to resist, disagree, complain and feel miserable, or you can choose do dress properly and get on with your life. Wanna go boating? Dress warm and go!
Vancouver is a touristic city… a gorgeous one, by the way. During summer tourists will stop their bikes in the middle of the bike lane while you are cycling to work, because they want to take a picture. Tourists LOVE to walk on foot at the bike lane. It looks so great, well levelled and no-one is walking there. Their feet just move there naturally, while their eyes contemplate everything but the many street signs. When this happens we have a choice: are you going to be stressed every time, or are you going to allow yourself to savour their enchantment, kindly give them a tip when appropriate, and continue to ride your bike in joy?
Then, there is the False Creek… how can that possibily work? Huge dinner cruise boats, yachts, sailing boats, barns full of concrete, small motor boats, kayaks, pedal boards, sea lions, Canadian Geese, ducks, seagullss, and swimmers… all mix together in the most perfect harmony. There seems to be a set of rules that is naturally respected by all, and the harmony is almost humorous to watch, especially on fireworks nights in July!
Vancouverites are the most amazing and kind people. Vancouverites also want to preserve this kindness culture, so they will educate you if you break the rules. For us, who come from places where rules are made to be broken – where nobody cares if you are late, or J walking, where everything is taken as a reason to crack a good joke and be happy – the first reaction might be to find it annoying at first. How would it be if we could just thank them for making us aware and helping us to fit in? How would it feel to join others in cultivating this culture of respect and kindness and to embrace it?
If you try to stop and read a map on a street totem, it won’t take more than 10 seconds for someone to offer you help in finding your way. (Oh! I love that part!). Vancouverites give way, hold doors, stand-up so someone else can sit down, greet you with a smile and look right into your eyes when talking.
This rapport attitude towards people, towards situations, towards the weather just makes life so much easier to live. It brings an amazing sense of connection that I wish could be present in every human interaction. Our world would be a better place, no doubt!
How does rapport impact your life and the lives you touch?