Five Ways to Build Rapport Online
Creating Mutual Trust With People You’ve Never Met
You instinctively know when you feel a rapport with a colleague, client or customer after meeting him or her face-to-face. You just “click,” and have a sense that you share the same goals and values.
But, what if you never actually meet your colleagues or team members? Perhaps they’re in a different time zone and you communicate with them online. If rapport is based on strong, two-way connections between people, and nurtured through empathy , shared experiences, and emotional intelligence , how can you and your co-workers develop it if you’re never in the same room?
Well, now the good news – building rapport online is a skill that you can learn! In fact, you’ve probably already done it with your Facebook® friends and LinkedIn® contacts without really knowing.
So, here are five tips for developing mutually rewarding working relationships with people you’ll never meet.
1. Show an Interest
The first step in building an online rapport with someone is to find out what motivates him, what he likes to do, what he believes in, and what he enjoys. Take a look at the Six Levels of Rapport in the table below for areas to explore when trying to deepen your relationship with someone.
Level Example 1. Environment Do we share a workplace or live in the same town, city or region? Do we experience similar weather, do we have a similar background, or do we know the same people? 2. Behavior Do we do the same things, share the same hobbies, or act in similar ways? 3. Capability Do we share any skills or abilities? (For example, speaking a foreign language.) 4. Beliefs Do we share principles, values or beliefs about what is important in life? 5. Identity Do we share a sense of who we are? (For example, “a hardworking husband” or “a carefree artist.”) 6. Spirit Do we share a sense of how all things are connected, or how we’re connected to a god or to the rest of humankind?
You build rapport with a colleague, client or customer when you develop a sense of shared values and mutual trust.
You can build rapport with people online with the help of social media, professional networking sites, video chat and messaging services, and collaborative software.
Use these five tips to help you to create lasting rapport with colleagues and team members who you’ll likely never meet in person:
- Use online research sensitively to find out what makes a person tick.
- Be genuine. Create an online presence that’s trustworthy and credible.
- Communicate clearly and precisely.
- Be accessible, and try to stay available for your online contacts.
- If the relationship breaks down, don’t fixate on fault and blame. Instead, focus on a positive outcome.