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Creating Rapport with Social Media

If you are having trouble connecting with the people or decision makers you’re meeting with, then you may not be doing your homework properly.  Research the audience before going into any meeting because using elements such as personal experience, educational and career backgrounds can help you gain an upper hand.  Even hobbies or common interests can be used to garner rapport.  How?  Through finding common ground.

Socially, the world has grown smaller; we share more information than we used to. Take your pick; websites such as LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms can offer a unique perspective to the trained eye, and offer you an advantage when creating and shaping relationships.  Casually study your decision makers and collect some ideas about their lives and careers, then subtly work these details into your conversation.  For example, if you find that someone has attended the same school, or held a position at a particular company you have dealt with, use it to create a tether of empathy.  You can massage it into the dialogue by saying something along the lines of, “During my time at {Name of Institution} I discovered…”; or “I learned recently that you used to work at {Name of Firm}, did you know such and such?”  (If you're lucky, they had a positive relationship with this person.)  Perhaps you can create common ground from places you’ve visited or sporting teams you mutually support.  If used thoughtfully, you may find that two or three tethers of empathy are all you need to create a lasting impression to help close the deal.

Adjust your dialogue and presentation to fit the situation.  For example, if someone’s a big golfer and you also play, try placing a few references into the deck or use some golf references like “We can tee this up…”.  Maybe place a few golf scenes into the background or use cases that reference the sport.   It sounds crazy, but they can work to help build relationships based upon common ground you share.  Be genuine in your approach and the rapport will come.  Just don’t overdo it…

Some executives may find it flattering that you went the extra distance to learn about them.  Again, it’s all about creating empathy.  Happy presenting!

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