Rapport: The Foundation for All Relationships
Hey friends, how’s your week going? ⚡️
If you’re reading this, I hope you’re in full chill mode: sinking into a cushy couch with a glass of cold water nearby. (Ever since I stopped drinking, I’ve picked up a strong LaCroix habit. )
I have to admit something:
The following email is actually a few weeks old.
I wrote it from sunny London as I kicked off a Euro trip with my family. Things got real hectic real quick (traveling with 3 kids lol), and I never got around to hitting ‘send’ — until today.
Here’s what I wrote about my time in London:
So far, I got in a walking coaching session with a client who lives in the city (meeting up IRL can be so magical) and hung out with the co-founder of the agency behind my brand (bonus: took our kiddos to a massive playground!)
Other than that, it’s all quality time with the fam. So many steps, so many cute corners like this:
After I wrap this email, I’ll be heads-down exploring the city with my kids. A quick stop in the West End should be a hit, too. 🦁
Quality time is what inspired today’s topic, actually, because it’s what underpins all our relationships and also presents significant challenges to our growth:
How do I cultivate stronger relationships that also propel me towards my goals?
A couple updates before we get into today’s newsie:
First things first: a very warm welcome to the new friends who’ve joined since my last email. I’m pumped to navigate self-work alongside you.
In case you missed it, tune into my interview on the Build Your SaaS podcast about why coaching is instrumental to navigating life on an early-stage team.
A big thank you to everyone who showed interest in 1-on-1 coaching with me. My schedule is packed until October, but if you're interested in starting then, dig into my approach here. If it piques your interest, just hit 'reply' and you’ll land in my personal inbox.
Alright, time for the newsie.
Well, it happened again. Five times last week I found myself uttering the same phrase:
"Everything boils down to rapport."
Rapport: a word that echoes in our minds, hearts and conversations. It's not just a word, but a feeling of connection and closeness that we share with people around us.
The secret sauce that helps our relationships thrive.
I sound like a broken record, repeating "rapport, rapport, rapport" during strategy calls, coaching sessions, workshops, and even at family dinners.
Because rapport is the invisible thread that binds everything together in our lives.
Rapport isn't something we’re taught in college, or even business school (which I went to), but it was actually the first lesson I learned when I trained as a coach.
It's the Swiss Army Knife of social skills — applicable everywhere, indispensable nowhere.
It’s an emotional tether binding us with those we communicate with and establishing an environment of trust and mutual understanding.
Published in 1990, Deborah Tannen’s book You Just Don’t Understand compares men’s “report talk” versus women’s “rapport talk.” While the gender landscape has evolved since the book's initial publication 30+ years ago, this dichotomy still exists in the workplace, regardless of gender.
Spotting a "report talk" manager isn't hard — they're usually the ones people are trying to avoid at the coffee machine. On the other hand, "rapport talk" managers seem to have a fan club wherever they go.
(My goal in life is to maintain “rapport talk” vibes with everyone I interact with — at home, at work, at the grocery store, in the school pickup line, etc. Working on it!)
Now, take a moment to imagine what life would be like without rapport:
Collaborations are uphill battles.
Personal relationships resemble a game of Minesweeper.
Social interactions feel like you're speaking different languages.
Productivity and team morale take a nosedive.
That's not just a bad look. It's a horror show.
I once peaced out of a team like that after just a few months. Not the atmosphere I wanted to spend my time in, nor the kind of folks I wanted to help achieve their goals. 😉
Now, let's flip the coin to imagine life with rapport, a healthy dose of it even:
A sense of mutual respect and understanding, leading to more productive (and dare I say fun?) interactions.
Bonds in personal relationships are as strong as superglue.
Social interactions are filled with empathy and understanding, creating a sense of belonging.
Productivity is through the roof, and team morale is flying high.
Rapport enriches our lives, not to mention our projects and businesses.
Building rapport may seem like decoding the human genome, but it's simpler than you think.
Go back to basics.
Back to kindergarten, actually.
Remember those colorful posters adorned with smiling suns and friendly animals that hung on classroom walls? The ones that nudged us to share our toys, sprinkle kindness like confetti, and treat others the way we'd like to be treated?
Well, building rapport is essentially a grown-up version of that.
Here are a few steps that I've seen work for individuals (and entire teams):
Prioritize the human connection. Show genuine interest in others.
Engage in healthy debates. Phrases like "I hear you" can work wonders. (More on that here.)
Practice active listening. Empathize first, then strive for understanding.
Celebrate diversity. Respect and value unique perspectives and ideas.
Of course, these four steps I outlined above are just the beginning of productive and collaborative relationships, but building rapport is the foundation upon which everything else stands.
So, take these steps, make them a habit, a part of your daily interactions. Soon, building (and maintaining) rapport will become as natural as breathing.
Along the way, observe how your relationships bloom and transform, how they propel you steadily towards your goals.
Savor each conversation, every shared connection, every burst of laughter, and every moment of mutual understanding.
Who knows? You might even have some fun along the way.
You got this. ✌️
PS. If there’s interest in this topic, I’ll write another post with examples and scripts you can use to navigate tricky scenarios. Let me know, so I can gauge interest.
Sending you only the very best vibes ✨
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