Success in business--and in life--is all about building relationships and trust. When you're in business, the more quickly you can build a positive relationship with potential customers, and with the people who work with and for you, the more successful you will be.
In her book Nothing But the Truth, body language expert Maryann Karinch reveals what to keep in mind most when building the kind of rapport and trust that sparks relationships. Says Karinch, "Everyone has needs, doubts, and insecurities. That is the first concept you need to embrace in honing your skills of rapport-building. The process of establishing a connection to another person to gain trust--and truth--centers on showing respect as you address his or her needs, doubts, and insecurities."
Karinch goes on to describe 10 powerful rapport-building habits taught by her colleague Lena Sisco. These 10 habits include:
1. Smile with your eyes
A smile is a powerful thing. It builds trust with others and releases neurotransmitters like endorphins, dopamine, and mood-enhancing serotonin that make people feel good. Giving a genuine smile to someone you've just met is a great way to quickly build a positive relationship.
2. Use touch carefully
Research shows that people like other people who briefly touch them during an interaction. A brief and gentle touch on the arm suggests warmth and is a physical reminder of the relationship that you are building with the other person. Be careful not to overdo it, however, and keep in mind that touch is not considered to be appropriate in certain cultures.
3. Share something with the person about yourself
When you share something of yourself with someone you've just met, the other person will be encouraged to do the same--opening up a dialog and conversation that can lead to a positive relationship.
4. Mirror the other person
According to researchers, people like people who they think are like them. When you subtly mirror the actions of others (such as using an arm position that is similar, or leaning in the same direction), you quickly build rapport. Again, don't overdo it.
5. Treat everyone with respect
Everyone wants to be treated with respect. Treat others the way you want to be treated by them.
6. Reinforce trust with your body language
To quickly spark a relationship with someone else, you want your body to send the message, "I'm open to you, and I trust you." You can do this by opening three power zones on your body: the nape of your neck, your navel, and your crotch. Do not cover these with your hands or block them with any part of your body.
7. Suspend your ego
Remember: It's not all about you. Be interested in what someone else is saying to you, and allow them to educate you.
8. Flatter and praise
When you compliment others, you energize them and make them feel good--about themselves, and about you. Don't go overboard, however. People know when they are being buttered up.
9. Take your time to listen
Be an active listener, and be sure that distractions such as smartphones and other people don't get in the way of your conversation. Also be sure that your body language projects interest in the other person by leaning in to the conversation, and nodding your head from time to time in understanding and agreement.
10. Get your subject talking and moving
Ask open-ended questions that require the other person to provide a long and detailed response, not questions that can be answered with a simple "Yes" or "No." Start your questions with who, what, when, where, how, and why. And if you can get the other person moving with you--say, by going for a walk through your offices, or joining you for a cup of coffee outside your building--that is even better. Doing so will strengthen the bond between you.