How to influence a stranger


Nowadays, speed and ease drive our communication. People are switching from longer forms of communication to quicker forms. In fact, it seems we are reverting to hieroglyphics with our most recent cultural emphasis on communicating through emoticons. 

Our face-to-face communication is also surrounded by an increase in impatience. We try our best to fight the urge to dismiss too quickly, to give people time to explain themselves, to show their true character, but how good are we? Indications suggest, not so good.

So, we (generalization) like quick communication and we don’t give people long before we place them in a category, or a box, or something.

Communication for influence

What happens when we are the one needing the relationship to work? What happens when we are the ones asking for the time or the help? We have to build rapport even though we know there is impatience and bias on both sides. When we have time to build a relationship this becomes the main tool we have to guide us in mutual benefit.  With more time, come more opportunities to work against the other person’s biases and to enlist their trust to make the rapport grow.

Communication for influence with strangers

But what if we don’t have time. How do we manage that? How do we work quickly so we don’t get dismissed? How do we keep the other interested? How do we gain rapport for influence when we only have a short time?

Let’s take this into the workspace (oh how useful it would be in the romantic relationship space! Hmmm…. another blog….). Let’s think of specific industries, I’m sure you can see others….

  • Researchers need to forensically find facts, insights for their clients or for knowledge gain. A misjudged interaction in the first 5 minutes could break rapport, leading to low quality or even totally ‘wrong’ insights.
  • Medics have short appointments within which to determine the best outcome. Poor rapport building skills will mean poor disclosure, which means poor diagnoses or ‘door knob’ questions.
  • Paramedics working in extremely time sensitive slots will have an increase in distress, poorer compliance and potentially higher spend on medicines if the quality of rapport with the patient or their supporters is not strong.
  • Business development opportunities rely on the ability to find mutually beneficial outcomes. Will you get the opportunities if you haven’t built rapid rapport – probably not.

So what happens in this speeded up world. How do we make connections that are of value when we expect so much to be done so quickly? Our need to make connections remains. Our need to influence through our communication remains. But does our skill?  Here are 3 of the 10 main points that underlie the process of Rapid Rapport: Build Trust Quick.

1.    You need to judge where the ‘other’ is on the trust curve that underlies yours and their needs. If they are not in the right spot you will need to change that.

2.    You set the trust with validation, empathy and respect. You choose how you respond to the other. Respond through choice, and choose wisely. Every choice counts.

3.    Work on your ability to be transparent. If you can’t be transparent, know you are risking everything and understand how your body might betray you. No trust, no rapport.

How much of your business or your outcomes are you prepared to waste on missed opportunities to create Rapid Rapport?

Amy runs workshops and speaks about Rapid Rapport: build trust quick. She is running an open one-day workshop on Rapid Rapport: Build Trust Quick in Melbourne on 10th October  It takes you through the principles of understanding the communication, collaboration and creativity that is required. You master the theory and then practice using dynamic techniques until you are super skilled in influencing strangers quickly. You explore the common blocks to Rapid Rapport and your own idiosyncratic ones. You push yourself into a new formula for effective Rapid Rapport so that you get your job done, with greater effectiveness.