If you want to influence somebody, first you need to build a connection. Influence presupposes a link, a correlation, a rapport or a bond with the person. When you’re in sync with somebody, you have a better shot at leading.. The over-used word for this is “relationship.” I’m a bit reluctant to use it because you hear it a hundred times a day. But here’s what I know to be true. If you try to lead when you haven’t first built rapport, your chances of success are drastically reduced.
Connecting with a person builds trust and without trust, your leadership attempts are doomed. Here are some crib sheet notes to help you build rapport.:
1. Actively listen. Most of us struggle here. It takes intentionality to stop talking and listen. When you do, you’ll reap the rewards.
2. Find common ground. You might be surprised what you have in common with others. It might be activities, hobbies, values, family, children, education, sports or even pain points.
3. Ask engaging questions. Have you been in a one-sided conversation? Awkward wasn’t it? When conversations are lopsided, it makes for bad relationships.. That’s why asking great questions is so important.
If you look at the life and teaching of Jesus Christ, you’ll find that Jesus asked questions all the time. Here’s a sample: “Who do you say I am?” “Do you want to get well?” “Why are you so afraid?” It’s not a bad strategy to take our relationship building cues from Jesus. When the relationship grows, so will your influence.