Reproduced from Todd Hutchison’s E-Book ‘The Basics of Body Language’ available at: http://www.peopleistic.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/ToddHutchison_eBook_TheBasicsOfBodyLanguage.pdf
In 1971, Albert Mehrabian’s research concluded that there were three elements in any face-to-face communication: words, tone of voice and body language. He found that our liking for a person who puts the message across is weighted as:
- 7% for the words we use (verbal);
- 38% for the tone of voice we use (vocal); and
- 55% for the body language we convey (visual).
This means that our body language is the dominant factor that impacts on our ability to be liked, and therefore offers a great opportunity to build rapport in a short amount of time by focusing on the posture of your own body and that of the person you are building rapport with.
We now know that similar body language is a signal that the people engaged are in rapport with one another. We also know that body language attributes up to fifty five percent of the likeability between people. At such a high percentage, this means that if you influence the body language factors you may also be having a significant influence on the other person’s view of you.
This means that you can consciously adjust your body language to encourage rapport that becomes especially important when approaching an angry, aggressive or frustrated person that you are trying to deal with. It also is extremely important when mediating between two parties whose relationship has broken down, as your body language will influence their relationship. When you are not consciously focused on body language to deal with special circumstances, you will notice that the following techniques are often applied without any conscious awareness on your part, and that you tend to copy one another when in rapport automatically.
Influencing rapport is allowing you to create the best foundation for a positive conversation. It is about utilising the factors that influence the relationship so that the highest possible ability to engage with people is maintained. Saying that, it is used by professionals like negotiators and salespeople to speed the process of building rapport and the necessity to enable a positive relationship in the shortest possible amount of time.
To be in rapport with someone at a body language level, you can simply either match or mirror their body language.