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English Communication: How to Establish Rapport at Meeings

English Communication: How to Establish Rapport at Meeings

Blog for Saturday, July 17, 2021

Sometimes you going to a meeting to persuade.  The meeting could be one-on-one, you with a group, person-to-person or virtual. Use the first five minutes to establish rapport and relax people.  Egos are on alert the first few minutes of a meeting, and by putting people at ease, they’ll be receptive to your ideas.


One way to rapport is to bring lots of information with you.  Say it’s the first time you’re meeting with the group, then Google the leaders and social networking sites like Facebook or LinkedIn so you have current info on their backgrounds and activities.  During the first five minutes you could say – “I looked you up online, you’ve had  quite a career” – or mention it when they start talking about something you recognize from your research.  Visit their company’s website.

If you know the people you’re meeting with, use the first five minutes to make them feel valued.  If it is a superior,  acknowledge that the person is taking time out of his or her busy day.  You could say, “Thanks for meeting with me. I know you are busy.”  Or you can be more specific, for example by asking about a project the person is working on.  Or you could be even bolder and aim to be memorable.   The suggestion of Chris St. Hilaire is to think  about the last time your superior/boss or member of management complained about  something – babies crying on the  airplane or a restaurant which never puts enough mayo on a sandwich. When you go to meet with this person, bring a pair of inexpensive headphones or a jar of mayonnaise, set it on the desk, and say, “I’ve solved your problem.  Can I have a minute of your time?”  It is using a casual touch to signal that you listen to the other person and care enough to actually go out and  buy  the item.

During the first five minutes, you will also be making a visual impression.  Here are some tips to consider. Conventional wisdom is to match your dress style to the people you’ll be meeting—this makes you one of them.  

Another tip is that when you are selling a service, consider that you may not want to look exactly like the people you’re persuading.  If you are just like them, why do they need you?  They need a person who can contribute something new.  So consider dressing a little differently to set yourself a little apart.  In this fashion, you are also signaling that you are not competing with them.   Then there is the old but true wisdom of salesmanship that if you’re going to sell something valuable, you need to look affluent.  With all this in mind, you might go with casual dress and choose a classy pullover sweater and jeans, both of which are obviously expensive. Expensive shoes work too.

Lastly, put people at ease knowing that other people will notice and be curious about whatever you are carrying.  It is an icebreaker and rapport building.

Think about how your behavior and dress can put people at ease. Your intention will then direct you in your choices!

Be sure to watch our English Speech Tips videos and Accent Reduction Tip videos  for more English pronunciation and accent reduction exercises.

copyright Clear Talk Mastery, Inc 2021


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