Tuesday 22 May 2012

I don't trust you because we're not the same

Social media has a lot to answer for - I saw this picture on Pinterest and thought it would work well with a blog about rapport (see link to original source of picture below) and then this tweet appeared from @David_Rae "If you enter a room and can tell who the procurement guy is, he's failed. Should be business people..." Firminich's Bhavesh Shah #plnforum"

I wasn't at the conference so don't know why Bhavesh Shah thinks they'd have failed. I know why I do: We're more likely to be influenced by people we trust, and people generally trust people they like and people like people who are like themselves.

As a result unconsciously we're always looking for the opportunity to minimise the differences and highlight the similarities between us and other people. So we might:
  • Wear the same things
  • Say the same things
  • Act the same
  • Mirror body language
  • Look for shared interests
  • Find shared beliefs
  • Discover common challenges
  • and so on
When we do this it's called Rapport.

Rapport is an essential element required when selling a service to, or working with, a stakeholder (whether that stakeholder is internal or external to your organisation). Without rapport the stakeholder will think you're not the same as them and therefore might, without any other information, summise:
  • you don't understand them
  • you have conflicting objectives
  • you have your own agenda
  • you're not to be trusted 
Which won't always engender the type of relationship you need in order to achieve yours or the business's objectives.

Next time you're off for a meeting just remember to look for ways you can bring out the similarities between both parties before you hit them with the differences. 

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Sowing the seeds for business managers to achieve rapport with purchasing

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