10 Proven Techniques from the FBI Behavioral Unit to Build Rapport with Anyone
Leading the FBI's Counterintelligence Behavioral Analysis Program is Robin Dreeke, an expert in connecting with people. His book "It's Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone" outlines key methods for building instant connections with others.
Here is a summary of his techniques:
1) Use artificial time constraints
- Being stuck in a conversation with a stranger is uncomfortable, which is why Robin starts by saying something like “I'm on my way out but before I left I wanted to ask you…” It's important to let the other person know the conversation has a set end point.
2) Align your body language with your words
Your nonverbal cues should match what you're saying and be non-threatening. As Dale Carnegie explained, a smile is the most powerful nonverbal technique.
3) Speak slowly and clearly
Speaking quickly can make you appear nervous. Speaking slowly and clearly can make you sound more credible.
4) Seek AssistanceWe tend to feel connected to those who ask us for help, especially when the request is small.
According to It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone, eliciting individuals for action, information, or simply a great conversation can often be achieved through the use of sympathy or assistance. Reflect on moments when you have either sought help or were asked to provide it. When the request is straightforward, short-lived, and poses no threat, we are much more likely to comply. As human beings, we are wired to accommodate requests for help.
5) Let Go of Your EgoAvoid correcting people or anything that may come across as one-upmanship.
Just listen. You don't need to share your own story; simply encourage others to keep sharing theirs.
Based on It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone, letting go of your ego involves prioritizing others' wants, needs, and perspectives over your own. In most conversations, each person waits for the other to finish their story before sharing their own, often in an attempt to one-up the other with a better or more interesting tale. Those who successfully suspend their ego keep encouraging the other person to speak about their experience, ignoring their own desire to share their own story… Such individuals are often the best conversationalists, as well as the most sought-after people when friends and family need someone to listen without judgment. They are the masters at building quick and lasting rapport.
6) Acknowledge OthersThe easiest way to do this is through attentive listening.
As highlighted in It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone, the simplest form of acknowledgement is active listening. All it takes is recognizing the incessant need we all possess to share our own story. The challenge for most of us is not to interject our own thoughts, perspectives, or anecdotes during the conversation. Authentic acknowledgement, combined with ego suspension, means that you have no story to share; you are just there to hear theirs.
7) Seek Details: How? When? Why?Ask open-ended questions.
Via It’s Not All About “Me”: The Top Ten Techniques for Building Quick Rapport with Anyone:
Requesting open ended questions is a key concept for every adept conversationalist or interviewer. Instead of requiring a simple yes or no answer, open ended questions need more thought and elaboration from the individual being conversed with. An effective conversationalist will use the information shared by their target to continue asking open ended questions about their interests while the individual provides the content.
Dreeke, an expert in FBI active listening techniques, recommends various listening techniques including quid pro quo, where personal information exchange between both parties can ease the situation if the individual is introverted or guarded. Another instance is when an individual talks too much and feels self-conscious about it. Giving a personal piece of information allows for rapport building.
Reciprocation is natural in human interaction when offered something, even non-material like compliments. Effective conversationalists utilize this innate human behavior to build relationships, which is considered to be the cornerstone of managing ego suspensions.
It is salient to manage your expectations to avoid negative emotions such as resentment and anger that may arise from unmet expectations. By focusing on the other person's needs, you can play it cool and avoid raising your expectations to unnaturally high levels.
Managing one's expectations can prevent disappointment, anger, grudges, and hurt feelings, which can jeopardize both healthy relationships and quick rapport. In fact, the key to success in building quick rapport is to strive towards making the other person leave the interaction feeling much better for having met you. This is a vital rule that FBI professionals, such as Chris Voss and Jim Clemente, have recommended following. Therefore, the only attitude one should adopt when attempting to build rapport is the one that places the other person's interests and needs at the forefront. By actively listening to them, brightening their day, and connecting with them on a level where others cannot, you will master the technique of quickly establishing great relationships. Subscribe for free to our weekly email newsletter and join 45k readers who value such insightful advice. For more related posts on the art of influence and persuasion, please visit Barking Up the Wrong Tree. Contact us at [email protected] for any feedback on this piece.
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