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  • Kent Comfort

Tips For Building Rapport

Jim Rae Ph.D. (LodgeTenderChief Relationship Officer)

We talked about the power of first impressions and how your display of confidence or lack thereof speaks volumes about you and the establishment you represent.

Let’s dig a little deeper into the process of building rapport with one another. In the hospitality industry, you and your employees meet and greet people constantly. Your business relies on dependable, qualified and friendly employees that will help you translate a culture of courtesy, professionalism and care into dollars for your business.

Rapport happens easiest when one connects with another person’s eyes, our best barometer for measuring a person’s energy level, authenticity and interest in what you have to say.

Good eye contact isn’t all that is required to connect with another. If you want to make a positive connection with someone, you need to also listen to and focus on what it is that person is saying. It’s easy to become distracted by our internal dialogue, otherwise known as our internal spoken language. Our internal spoken language is best known as that little voice inside our heads that talks to us about 1,000 – 2,000 words per minute every minute we are awake.

The distraction that happens when our internal spoken language takes over in our mind is that we take our focus away from the person talking to us because we are thinking about and mentally rehearsing what we want to say to them when they stop talking. The consenquence of that is we may not comprehensively hear their comments.

The most effective way to build rapport with your customers is to be totally present with them. The best way to do this is by making eye contact and truly listening to what your customers are saying. Listen to what they care about, and notice how the chatter in your own head either derails you or helps you stay focused. The more you practice staying in the moment, the easier it becomes. Make it a game to see how many people you connect with each day. You may be surprised to find an increase in positive feedback from your customers.

And please don’t forget to let that smile spread across your face. That can be the best compliment you have along your eye contact.

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