Techniques for Building Rapport & Establishing Comfort

Rapport gives us the potential for creating long lasting, synergistic relationships, but can also be misused. Rapport is a tool much in the same way that a hammer is. Just as a scalpel can be used to heal or to hurt, utilize it to heal. You must use rapport to heal or it will come around and bite you in the ass and you will not succeed in your goals. The best thing you can do is to use rapport in an ethical way to benefit all involved.connection

Use these techniques to create win-win, synergistic relationships.


55% of communication is physiology, otherwise known as body language, and 38% is in ones voice; tonality, tempo, timbre & volume specifically. The other 7% is the words that you use. Since body language is an often talked about subject in the community, and tonality is pretty much common sense to all of us, I’ll be talking specifically about how you can make the MOST out of this last little piece of the puzzle.

What Words Are Comprised Of

There are 4 key parts we have after we break down the last 7% of communication. Words are made up of predicates, key words, common experiences and content chunks. I’ll be focusing on each part and also providing some other explanations of things that will be helpful to you in understanding how to utilize these techniques.

Let’s begin, shall we?


Predicate: the word is defined as the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject. In NLP, the predicates people use often clue you in to their Representational System.


What is a Representational System, you ask?

Representational Systems

There are 4 basic types of people:

1. Primarily Visual

2. Primarily Kinesthetic

3. Primarily Auditory

4. Primarily Auditory Digital

Allow me to explain about these types of people real quick.

How people learn, memorize and communicate fall into these 4 Representational Systems:

1. Visual – by looking, seeing and visualizing

2. Kinesthetic – by touching, feeling and doing

3. Auditory – by listening and hearing

4. Auditory Digital – using logic, understanding and strategy

There are ways for you to train yourself to easily spot each type of person, but that is beyond the scope of this post.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get back to predicates.

Before the quick background info, we agreed that the definition of predicate was basically a verb. Now let me explain what the importance of them actually is.

The verbs that people use when they speak often dictate what type of Representational System they prefer.

Here’s are some examples:

1. If I said “This doesn’t feel right to me.”, what kind of Representational System would I be using?

2. How about if I said “I can see what you mean.”?

3. If I said “That name rings a bell.”, what type of person would I be?

4. And if I said “That doesn’t make any sense to me.”, what type would I be then?

In case you needed the answers 1. kinesthetic 2. visual 3. auditory and 4. auditory digital.

Do you see what I mean? = visual

Do you hear me? = auditory

Do you understand me? = auditory digital

Do you grasp the concept? = kinesthetic

By now you are beginning to understand.

*Note* People can score high levels in each representational system, and may even prefer one system over another system at different times.


Keywords are defined as the words that are used to reveal the internal structure of a persons reasoning.

But how are keywords important when building rapport? When you are trying to build rapport in your communications, one of the techniques you can use is Matching & Mirroring.

It’s time for another timeout.

Matching & Mirroring

Just like keywords, matching and mirroring is an import piece of building rapport. Allow me to distinguish the difference between them.

Matching – When you are matching someone, you are using the opposite side of your body to mimic their movements.

Mirroring – When you are mirroring someone, you are acting as if you are a mirror image of them.

Matching tends to be less in someone’s conscious awareness than mirroring, but mirroring will create a much deeper rapport. You want to be subtle, though, when you are matching and mirroring someone. You always want this to be outside of someone’s conscious awareness.

It’s important to understand and realize that when you do have a deep and unconscious rapport with someone, that you match and mirror them anyway, something that you already do naturally. It can be viewed as a way of honoring that person, so much that you’re willing to become like them in order to communicate with them.

Matching and mirroring can be applied to many different aspects of communication, but here I’m only going to discuss how to do it within the last 7% of communication, because again, it is beyond the scope of this post.

Let’s get back on track again.

Using the keywords of the person whom you are building rapport with is a great out-of-conscious way to establish that connection with them. Simply pick out 2 or sometimes 3 keywords from their last sentence or two and use them when you speak back to them.

This is very easy to accomplish during conversations.


Ever find yourself in a conversation with someone and as they were talking about one of their personal experiences it started reminding you of your similar experiences? Did you then feel compelled to talk about your experiences as well?

This has happened to us all at one point in our lives and in this situation we were using our words to build rapport with the person we were communicating with.


For now, content chunks could be defined as: the topic of conversation, but more accurately this is beyond the scope of this post.

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When you start building rapport within the last 7%, you want to match predicates more than mirror them, and you want to mirror keywords more than you match them. The reason you want to do this is that it will more easily stay outside of someone’s consciousness.

In this context, matching predicates would be using similar ones as opposed to the same ones and mirroring key words would be using the exact key words as opposed to matching keywords. Mirroring someone’s predicates even once could bring risk bringing it into their consciousness, and matching someone’s key words will generally have a lesser effect.

Matching Predicates:

Her: I don’t see what you mean.

You: Let me try painting you a picture of what I’m talking about.

Her: I don’t think you’re hearing me!

You: No, I’m hearing you loud and clear.

Her: I’ve been trying to get a hold of you all week!

You: I’m just a hard person to get in touch with.

Her: I’m not getting a clear understanding of what you’re getting at.

You: Let me explain it in a way that makes sense to you.

Notice how you match their Representational System preference.

Mirroring Keywords:

Her: Yesterday, I had to take my car to the mechanic.

You: Why did you have to take your car to the mechanic?

Her: Oh I think the brakes were going. I started hearing this grinding noise when I was stopping.

You: Yeah, grinding noises are typical when you need your brakes replaced.

Notice how noise goes to noises. The words don’t have to be in the exact form, just use the root of the keyword.

You should generally start by matching someone and then switch to mirroring, as matching is less inside consciousness and mirroring is more inside consciousness, thus stepping down into and creating a deeper rapport.

The point of establishing unconscious rapport isn’t to always match and mirror someone. You want to meet them where they are and take them where you want them to go, to eventually and unconsciously LEAD them into matching and mirroring you. Once you are successful in accomplishing that, you have successfully built rapport with them.


There are 4 major indicators:

1. Their feeling inside – They my feel “butterflies in their stomach” or experience a feeling of warmth or familiarity.

2. Their skin color will change – Meeting someone new causes people to go into a state of sympathetic arousal. Their skin will start to flush or blush, signifying a shift from sympathetic functioning to para-sympathetic functioning, which means they go into a state of relaxation.

3. They’ll say something about the feeling of familiarity – Have we met before? Do I know you? I feel like I’ve known you before.

4. Leading – When you start to move, they follow you.


When you are successful at building rapport, establishing comfort will typically stem from sharing your common experiences.

As building this kind rapport is generally deeper, you should switch to matching before you end, your communication with someone, so as to lead them back out of deep unconscious rapport more gradually.