When you meet someone new, a great technique to help build rapport is mirroring body language.
When I was working as a uniformed police officer and interrogating suspects, mirroring techniques prompted the suspects to share more information.
Go out and observe others’ behaviours. When you witness this technique, you’ll know that rapport is being built. You can engage in this technique yourself.
Once you’ve been practising it for about five minutes or so, and you can tell that you’re getting along with the person in front of you, change your body language.
Slowly cross your other leg, uncross them altogether, or move your coffee cup and watch to see if they do the same thing.
If they do, then you know you have a great connection. You’ve built some great rapport and you know that it’s a great time to present what you have to offer.
If you’re sitting across from the other person for this exercise, make sure you don’t create a barrier between you and them, such as a coffee cup, or a pen in the middle of the table.Adjust your presentation and watch for subtle cues with their body language. If they start to put stuff in front of you, or nod their head whilst looking around the room, you know that you’ve lost their engagement.
This works both ways. If you’re not aware of what you’re doing with your non-verbal actions, you can ruin the whole interaction.
Remember also that people are more receptive to your ideas if they are in comfortable seating. They're less likely to make a decision in favour of what you're presenting if they're uncomfortable.
I know it seems sort of obvious, but there are studies to back this up that show that, during negotiations, if you can have someone in a comfortable seating area, and you put the person who's in power to the right, it makes a lot of difference.
Take note of your surroundings and body language, and how these elements can work for, or against you, when trying to build rapport.
Give it a go and see what happens.