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How To Fine Tune Your Rapport Building Skills

Aug 26, 2008
In order for us to know how to match and build rapport with others, we must first be able to observe others with precision. In NLP, we call this calibration.

Calibration is a process to help us fine tune our distinctions from an objective point of view rather than a subjective point of view. Calibration is the single most important element in modeling.

How do we calibrate? First of all, our ability to calibrate comes from the various senses. Let us focus on building our ability to observe through these three basic senses, namely the visual, auditory and kinesthetic senses first.

Observe differences in body language, tonal voice, and words that are used by people and notice what difference there are in these three things that affect these people's states.

The main objective of calibration is for you to make comparative distinction; this is similar to the game played in Sesame Street, in which the player has to figure out which person in the group is not doing the same action as the rest of the group.

The key focus for calibration is to describe, not evaluate.

For instance, if a person is sitting down, your description could sound like this, "You are crossing your right leg over your left, with your left arm crossed over your right, and your head is tilted slightly to your right."

An evaluative judgment would sound like, "You are being defensive." Likewise, instead of saying, "You are angry!",you could say, "You are frowning, your arms are crossed, and you are breathing heavily."

The test for you to determine if your statement is an evaluative judgment would be to ask yourself, "Could this behavior mean something else to someone else in the room?"

Would they disagree with my judgment? If you can find an alternative judgment, then, there is a very high chance you are making an evaluation.

Keep to the objective details best as you can.

Here are some recommended personal exercises you can do to improve your calibration skills.

Visual Calibration

One way is to compare what you friend just wore yesterday with what he is wearing today. You can also identify slight changes in a person's breathing pattern or in a person's sitting posture. Another way would be for you to identify different mix of cars simply by looking at its silhouette.

Auditory Calibration
For those of you who would like to do some auditory calibration, pay attention to a person's footsteps by closing your eyes. As you do that, will you be able to identify who that person is?

If you close your eyes and stand by the side of the road, notice, would you be able to tell whether a vehicle car passing by is a 1.6 liter or 2.0 liter car, or whether it is a taxi or a van?

Kinesthetic Calibration

For those of you planning to improve your kinesthetic calibration skills, I would suggest that you visit a garment or fabric store. In the store, close your eyes and feel the different types of cloths that are available within your grasp. Feel what it is like.

Notice the texture and the feeling, the warmth, or the coolness of the particular fabric and make your judgment.

Through practicing calibration, the building of rapport will gradually become second nature enabling us establish social relationships with ease.
About the Author
Adam Khoo is an entrepreneur, best-selling author and a self-made millionaire by the age of 26. Discover his million dollar secrets and claim your FREE bonus report 'Ultimate Success Formula' at Patterns Of Excellence.
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