How to Build Rapport Authentically – with Verbal Matching

1So I was reflecting back on a conversation I had the other day.

The other person said to me “I don’t like to drink alcohol often”.

My genuine reply was “I don’t like to drink alcohol often either”.  I noticed the increase in rapport from this mini-interaction.

But what if this person would have said “I love to go out drinking!” How could I build rapport in this situation where my own internal orientation is so different?

This is the distinction between “content matching” vs. “verbal matching”

“Content matching” is what occurred in the conversation I mentioned above – you are feeding back the same belief in a genuine way i.e. Them: “I love Neuro-Semantics.” – Me: “I love Neuro-Semantics too!”.

I speak in my trainings about how it is unethical and inauthentic to lie about your beliefs for the purpose of building rapport, so if someone says something in a conversation that does not resonate with you how can you respond in a way that still builds rapport?

If you don’t share the same view, you can just “verbally match” the belief for example by giving an acknowledgement (or a checking question) i.e. Them: “Justin Bieber is my favorite musician” –  Me: “So Justin Bieber is your favorite musician?”.

This allows the other person to feel understood and listened to (as opposed to challenged or argued with), it will deepen the relationship without resistance, and will at the very least maintain rapport and likely serve to build rapport – even if you have an opposing belief!

You could even follow this up with exploration questions or meta-questions such as, “What do you like about Justin Bieber?”, “When did you first listen to him?” What is your favorite thing about Justin Bieber?”, etc.

This can serve to further deepen the rapport as you authentically get to understand this person on a deeper level without resisting their views or provoking them to resist you.

What are the benefits of this?

  1. In responding in this way you may gain more understanding into the other persons way of thinking and therefore have the opportunity to expand your own understanding
  2. The other person can be more open to hearing out your perspective and therefore expanding theirs.
  3. You gain the ability to have more rapport and opportunities for personal growth in your relationships, even in conversations where you have opposing beliefs.

Seems simple enough! So next time someone says something like, “Spiders are the best pets!” or “Pizza is the healthiest breakfast food”… rather than resisting their belief and possibly arguing the point, or lying about your beliefs to build the relationship… you have the option to just feed back their belief to them and follow up with some questions to get to understand them better!

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To higher levels of authenticity and deeper levels of rapport,

Jason Schneider

If you want to take this information to the next level, accelerate your learning curve and get more in depth, experiential and personalized assistance, we offer various options for you to deepen your application of Neuro-Semantics personally and professionally.

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To your ever continuing growth,

Jason Schneider


Founder of the Perception Academy

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