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Topic: Re:Rapport
Posted by: John Grinder
Date/Time: 02/04/2003 20:22:42


First of all, rapport is ultimately a measure of the competency with which the person who achieved rapport with the other conducts themselves. In other words, the only basis for long term rapport is your ability to deliver value for the person with whom you form a rapport bond.

Now, most discussions of rapport in the field of NLP have pivoted around the "tricks" - that is, the strategies to achieve short term rapport - essentially rapport that is "unearned" in the naive sense of the word by using deep programs learned preverbally. Note how an adult feeds a child sitting in the high chair. When they have positioned the spoon filled with food for the child, what do they do - they use one of the oldest and deepest sets of circuits that we carry as a species - they look into the eyes of the child, ensure that they have captured their visual attention, and then, they (the adults) open their mouth in an exagerated manner. This is the initial training in mirroring - the most fundamental of the "tricks" for establishing rapport. How does it work? - simple enough: the underlying basis for the effectiveness of rapport through the strategy of mirroring is congruency. How specifically?, you ask. If I see a person whose body (posture, head tilt, hand position, cycle of breathing... what is presented and processed visually coincides perfectly with what my tactile, proprioceptive and kinesthetic sensibilities already inform me is true (congruency between what is reported by the see-feel circuits and what is reported by the tactile, proprioceptive and kinesthetic representations). This creates the illusion of familiarity and comfort as my environment (the other person) fits or coincides with my ongoing experience - this is the neurological basis (crudely described here at a reasonably abstract level).

Now, you want examples of people in rapport where trust is not a characteristic of the exchange. Ever watched and listened to a lover's quarrel? Ever watched and listened to a passionate dispute between a parent and the teenager of the family in a western European culture? Ever been presented forcefully with an opinion that you so absolutely disagree with that you are compelled (or feel so at the time) to present the opposing point of view? Carmen and I propose that these are legitimate cases of rapport.

If this is troubling to you, you may want to propose a finer classification of rapport - let's say: positive rapport states include trust, confidence in the ethics and competency of the other... and negative rapport states which include anger (although not all emotional states normally so classified), the states of the participants involved in a lover's quarrel...

Personally, I would not introduce such an evaluative classification - at the level of form and process, they are identical. For example, in a context where the intentions of the parties is some significant change (agent of change and client, for example, or coach and client...), from my own experience, the only class of clients that are initially problematic are people who are unengaged - and many times I have taken the short cuts of insulting them to get the involvement I want and then moving them (through any number of patterns) to a state more amenable to the change agreed upon. Thus, in such a sequence, there seems little point to classifying the intermediate state of anger as negative - it is quite positive in its consequences in the context defined.

If you were to propose such a classification, I suspect that many people would find comfort in the distinction. I don't regard offer comfort to people as a critical part of my activities. 

You wrote,

"...your reframing of rapport from 'trust' to 'engagment' (which, as i understand it, includes trust), would you also question the assumption that it is 'trust' that is key in the process of pacing and leading..."

First of all, from my point of view as co-creator of NLP and originator along with Bandler of the coded rapport strategies that are the focus of this exchange, we were clear from the outset that trust was only a member of the larger more inclusive set we called rapport. So I hardly regard this as a reframing. Having said that, my response to your question is: trust need not be present at all for a successful, immediate and powerful application of pacing and leading. Pacing and leading is a mechanicall process (described in Whispering) that is entirely independent of trust. A basic field experience will make the point: go out into a public area - a cafe, an airport, ride on public transport. Now arbitrarily select someone who you have never seen before, who hasn't a clue about who you are. Position yourself in their peripheral vision; duplicate their body posture and movements (to a reduced amplitude so as not to trigger conscious appreciation of what you are about). Especially important, duplicate (again in reduced amplitude) their movements - spend 3 minutes doing this. At no time will you make eye contact or acknowledge their presence in any recognizable manner (obviously you will rely on your perpheral vision to collect the ongoing information you need to accomplish all this. Now, at the end of the 3 minutes having finished the pacing, shift your body slowly into a distinct posture or modify your movements so as to introduce movements they have not demonstrated - when they shift to match your new posture, movements... you have unequivocal evidence that you have rapport in its deepest and most classic sense - the leading demonstrates this without doubt.

Please offer us a report.


Entire Thread

TopicDate PostedPosted By
Rapport02/04/2003 18:06:13Sylvia Toms
     Re:Rapport02/04/2003 20:22:42John Grinder
          Re:Re:Rapport13/04/2003 12:47:27Pete
               Re:Re:Re:Rapport13/04/2003 17:43:11John Grinder

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