CROA National Conference 13.10.2010
RAPPORT: THE X FACTOR!
What is it?
A positive impression
A feeling of accord or sameness
A sense of trust
Knowing why you are there and what is expected
An understanding of children & young people and the issues
they experience (personal?)
Why is it so important?
The most basic aspects of working with
children are often overlooked or
The manner in which we approach each
child as a separate and unique human
being is a critical aspect of professional
and humane practices.
In relationships, understanding and rapport
are based upon particular styles of perceiving
the world. This workshop will hopefully
present a background of information and
discussion useful in developing basic rapport
It also now features in the advocacy
qualification as Effective communication and
engagement with children, young people and
their families and carers.
Definitions and history
Rapport is one of the most important features or
characteristics of subconscious communication. It
describes a commonality of perspective: being ‘in
sync’ with, or being ‘on the same wavelength’ as the
person with whom you’re working.
There are a number of techniques beneficial to
building rapport such as matching your body
language and maintaining appropriate eye contact.
Some of these techniques have also been described
as processes of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).
Uncommon Therapy (Jay Haley, 1993) recounts the
psychotherapeutic intervention techniques of Milton
Erickson who developed the ability to ‘enter the
world view of his patients and, from that vantage
point (having established rapport), was able to make
extremely effective interventions to help his patients
overcome life problems.’
‘Rapport is based on mutual confidence, respect and
acceptance. It is your responsibility to engage the
interviewee and bring him or her to see you as a
trusting and helping person.’ (Sattler, 1992)
Mirroring means getting into rhythm with the
person on as many levels as possible.
Emotional Mirroring - Empathizing with
someone's emotional state by being on ‘their
Posture mirroring - Matching the tone of a
person's body language not through direct
imitation, as this can appear as mockery, but
through mirroring the general message of their
posture and energy.
Tone and Tempo mirroring - Matching the tone,
tempo, inflection, and volume of a person's
Reflecting is a form of ‘pacing’ (Bandler,
Grinder, 1975) or ‘mirroring’ and is literally
imitating or miming the child’s behaviour.
This technique is probably the most
effective way of establishing quick rapport
and is the one, used either consciously or
subconsciously, by most professionals in the
What we say, how we say it, where
we say it, when we say it and why we
say it can cause a wide variety of
responses from whom we say it to!
Incongruent vs. Congruent language
Watch your language!
“I see what you mean”, “I have a blind spot on that”, “It appears to me as
if”, “Show me”, “In my mind’s eye…”Shed some light on this for me”, etc.
“In a manner of speaking”, “It rings a bell with me”,
“Loud and clear”, “On the same wavelength”,
“Whose calling the tune ?”, “What makes her tick ?”, etc.
“Hold on a second”, He’s a cool customer”, “She is a warm-hearted
person”, “Thick skinned”, “They had a heated argument”, “I feel it in my
Acting for someone and completing difficult tasks
without asking for something in return may trigger
feelings of obligation.
Does anyone have experience of this – good or bad?
Commonality is the technique of deliberately finding
something in common with a person in order to build
a sense of camaraderie and trust. This is done
through shared interests, experiences, dislikes,
Do we automatically achieve this in the advocacy
Albert Meharabian proposed that
60-70 % of all human
communication and meaning is
derived from nonverbal behaviour.
Kinesics - study of how certain
body movements and gestures
serve as non-verbal
It is now generally accepted that certain basic facial expressions of
human emotion are recognized around the world - and that the use
and recognition of these expressions is genetically inherited rather than
socially conditioned or learned.
The following basic human emotions are generally used and recognised
as part of humankind's genetic character:
Charles Darwin was first to make these claims in his book The
Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872.
Body language and space
Interpersonal space refers to the psychological ‘bubble’ that we imagine
exists when someone’s standing too close to us.
1. Intimate distance ranges from touching to about eighteen inches (46
cm) apart. Intimate distance is the space around us that we reserve for
lovers, children, as well as close family members and friends.
2. Personal distance begins about an arm's length away; starting around
eighteen inches (46 cm) from our person and ending about four feet (122
cm) away. We use personal distance in conversations with friends, to chat
with associates, and in group discussions.
3. Social distance is the area that ranges from four to eight feet (1.2 m - 2.4
m) away from you, reserved for strangers, newly formed groups, and new
4. Public distance includes anything more than eight feet (2.4 m) away
from you. This zone is used for speeches, lectures, and theatre; essentially,
public distance is reserved for larger audiences.
Obstacles to rapport
Anxiety of a first meeting
Testing the waters
Stress – it’s difficult to talk about problems
Situational constraints – control
Just another professional in a long line
Constant readjusting of our emotional responses
Our own emotional state – imposing our values
Our abilities to remain aware of leading or closed questions etc.
Pre-occupation with our own circumstances
Enablers to rapport
Values and ethos?
The advocacy role itself?
Peer advocacy, RVA etc.
Is it necessary to the advocacy process at all?
Thanks for your time!
Senior Advocate, Teesside & Darlington
National Youth Advocacy Service