I follow a number of inspiring blogs written by parents with children with autism or other difficulties who relay their experience for the benefits of others. I applaud them and thank them for their candour in sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. In any one of their posts might lay the golden nugget that is the difference that makes the difference in someone’s life.
One thing I’ve noticed is most of them have had a bad experience going to see some helping professionals for themselves or their children. They felt uneasy, uncomfortable, usually not listened to and their needs were ignored. These emotions are symptomatic of a lack of connection between the professional and the client. Both parties are out of rapport.
So, how can you connect seamlessly with someone, whatever the situation?
By building rapport you create a sense of deep connection between you and the person by reflecting back their non-verbal communication. The easiest way to achieve this is to ‘copy’ the person… and copy him or her with grace.
There are 2 main ways to establish the connection:
You want to match or mirror their physiology (e.g. posture, facial expressions, breathing, significant gestures etc…), their tonality (voice tone, verbal speed, voice volume etc…) and also the type of language they use. To do it gracefully, stay natural and relax and be careful of the mimic trap as this will have quite the opposite effect.
Try it with family and friends and notice how they react so you can perfect your technique accordingly.
As with many skills, the more you practice, the more it’ll become second nature.
Floortime and Son-Rise use the power of building rapport as the foundation of their program. This allows you to form a strong bond with the child and leads to mutual trust. Moreover, by doing what they are doing it gives you an invaluable experience and understanding of their world.
Use your rapport building skills and see the difference it makes when interacting with others.
And as always, feel free to share your experiences in the comments.
Related post: Pacing the experience