Are you looking for a job? Are you trying to hire someone? Before you can start with either of these tasks, you have an initial task to accomplish: you have to build rapport.
Sometimes, building rapport is as simple as smiling at the other person. Sometimes it’s a little more difficult. Here’s a checklist I find useful:
- Smile, say “Hello,” and extend my hand to shake for someone I’m meeting for the first time. For someone I already know in the organization, smile and say, “Hello” or whatever is an appropriate greeting. I have a colleague who says, “Greetings and salutations of the day!” I always chuckle when I meet with him.
- Make sure I have a firm handshake. No limp fish handshakes. Oh, and I make sure I’ve wiped away lunch or the residual water from the ladies room.
- Sometimes, you have to problem-solve about the meeting itself, before you get to the reason you are meeting. Who needs to sit where to take notes? Who do you need to call to conference them in? Who needs access to the power strip or the whiteboard? Sometimes, helping other people solve their problems builds rapport. You might think this problem-solving should occur before the meeting, but sometimes it occurs just as you start the meeting.
- If I’m sitting with just one other person, I try to sit at a 90-degree angle, as opposed to directly opposite the other person. That allows us to be closer to each other, but not on top of each other.
- If the weather permits, a walk together while we discuss a topic is a nice change from a conference room. Walking side-by-side allows us to discuss problems more freely than sitting in a conference room.
I was once the first person scheduled to interview a candidate. He’d encountered traffic and was 5 minutes late for the interview. He was nervous and thought he’d blow the interview before we’d even started.
I greeted him with a smile and welcomed him. He nervously asked, “Have I blown the interview?”
“No,” I replied. “We’ll shorten our time and you’ll proceed with the rest of the interview as planned, okay?”
He visibly relaxed, and we started the interview. He was a great candidate, and we offered him a job.
When you work at building rapport before you discuss an issue, you might be more than halfway to agreement. It’s worth it.
Johanna’s New Job Search Book Available Now
If you are hiring or looking for a job, you need to know how to build rapport.
Join me at public workshops and at AYE
I am one of the hosts for the Amplifying Your Effectiveness Conference, AYE again this year. It’s in Albuquerque, NM, November 4-8, 2012. Early-bird registration ends April 30, 2012. This is the time to take advantage of the lowest registration price.
I’ll be in Stockholm on May 30, to lead Agile Project Portfolio Management. This is a special one-day version of my project portfolio workshop. We have one space open for this workshop, and then we will start a wait list.
I hope to see you both at AYE and in Stockholm.