Today’s blog is the next in the Authentic Relating series where I’ve been exploring the components needed to be authentic with yourself and apply that to your relationships.  Today we’ll go more deeply into connecting with needs and the importance of establishing rapport to activate a harmonious connection.  I’ll also guide you in building conscious communication skills to formulate requests in a genuine and life-enriching way.

Key Topics Include:

  • Learn different ways to build rapport using NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and its importance in creating harmonious connections.
  • Go more deeply into the NVC (Non-Violent Communication) toolbox to explore feelings, needs and ways to phrase requests.
  • Hear a practical example of how to use language skills, rapport and conscious presence to build authentic connections.
  • Learn skills to loosen the hold emotional triggers have on you when they arise.
  • How to identify your needs more clearly so that you can feel confident in asking for what you need.

In the previous two articles, we’ve practised becoming more authentic with ourselves by listening to our inner dialogue, taking responsibility for our feelings and permitting ourselves to get in touch with our needs.  This is an important first step because any relationship begins with your relationship with yourself.  Once you can embody full presence in the moment, access your inner truth and identify and release the hold emotional triggers have on you, you are better able to embody your authentic self and connect with others from a place of compassion, love and safety. 

As you begin to become more self-empowered by releasing the need to take responsibility for other’s emotions or projections by not taking things personally the sense of freedom from carrying the burden for others is lifted.  Any people-pleasing or co-dependent patterns lessen dramatically as you let go of expectations and reclaim your personal power with confidence and certainty.  As you stay in your lane and allow others the same with respect and empathy the importance of authentic communication skills become important. 

Using the skills of NVC (Non-Violent Communication by Marshall Rosenburg) together with NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) you become armed with a formula for authentic relating and the ability to uncover subconscious patterns that derail you from feeling safe and vulnerable enough to communicate clearly, honestly and consciously.  In today’s episode, I’ll continue to build conscious communication skills and other tools needed to create, nourish and grow authentic connections, personally and professionally.

Rapport is an important component of authentic connections and is something I teach in all my courses.  It is a simple awareness of the energetic connections that naturally exist between people and consciously connecting in ways to open this carrier wave of harmony, safety and natural affinity we have for others at a human level. Good rapport skills help to create safety, trust and connection.

Rapport is a state of harmony, alignment, safety and affinity between people. It is an essential prerequisite for authentic communication, connection and relationships.  When rapport exists between you and others the possibility for respect, trust and compassionate connection increases.  It allows for the aspects of being to come into sync with each other and lets both systems relax, feel comfortable and open up into vulnerability more freely.  When we are skilled in activating rapport, our presence increases and truth is easier to access and act upon. 

At a deep subconscious level, rapport is an unspoken communication that says “You are with like kind, you are safe here with me” allowing the brain and nervous system to let go of its fight or flight reaction.  This allows for communication to flow more easily and naturally.  It also creates a safe space for accessing deeper levels of the subconscious mind needed to bring forward the revision of old conditioned patterns with deep and lasting change.

Rapport can happen naturally between two people who have an energetic resonance with each other.  Like two keys on a keyboard that create a harmonious chord creating a beautiful melody.  I’m sure you’ve had this experience in life where you meet someone for the first time and feel an affinity with them like you’ve met before or are similar in nature.  This is an example of natural rapport.  Versus the experience where you don’t feel comfortable with someone or like you come from different worlds.  This is an example of a discordant resonance like two keys of the keyboard right next to each other that form a harsh incongruent tone that is unpleasant to hear.

Rapport is an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) skill that appreciates the primal parts of our brain we’ve had since crawling out of the primordial ooze that instinctively searches for friend or foe.  This critter brain part of us identifies a friend by those who are like us and foe for those who are not.  To be skillful with rapport is to allow this primal part of our brain to do its scan and find enough similarities to register we are with like kind and therefore we are safe.  This allows the sympathetic nervous system to relax and detach from the fight or flight response.  This allows for the parasympathetic nervous responsible for rest and relaxation to become dominant, allowing is to be able to be more open, vulnerable and available to receive authentic connections.

The great thing about learning rapport skills is that you can use them whether you have a natural affinity for someone or not.  You can use the skills to help someone feel more comfortable in your presence as well as allowing yourself to feel more comfortable in someone else’s presence.  As I like to say you don’t have to like someone to unconditionally love them, and using rapport consciously can help to create the energetic bond of unconditional love independent of whether you naturally resonate with someone of not.

There are a few basic rapport techniques that will support you in building more authentic connections on an energetic level, that allows for the connections to remain heart-centered, drama-free, build trust and naturally deepen any connection in the moment.  The first is called keyword backtracking.  This is using keen listening skills to remember the specific word someone uses and then integrating these into your reply.  For example, if you ask what your friend did on a day off and they say “I went out for a brunch at the new restaurant near me and then had a lovely dip in the sea at lunch.”  Using keyword backtracking you would then say “Brunch at the new restaurant sounds lovely.  And how was the dip in the sea?”  Versus using your own words like “That’s exciting there’s a new cafe near your house.  Did you enjoy your swim?”

In a more therapeutic settling the use of rapport helps to let the client know they are safe with the therapist, that they are heard and seen which builds the trust needed to go more deeply into places that need healing.  For example:

Client says “My relationship with my mother is strained such that I feel so uncomfortable I can’t be around her sometimes.  I wish I could get over this and have a peaceful, loving experience when I visit her at home.”  To build rapport using keyword backtracking the therapist would say something like “I understand you have a strained relationship with your mother and that you would like to have the experience of feeling peaceful and loving in her home.  Let’s take a look at what causes the strain you feel when you are with your mother so that we can help you get over this experience.”  Versus a rapport breaker statement like “It sounds like you have a difficult time being with your mother.  Let’s take a look at how we can change this to create a more meaningful connection between you two.  The difference may seem subtle, but if you try it with a friend, partner or family member whom you can ask for feedback on using keyword backtracking versus not, you will see that the use of keywords creates a more engaging connection where the person wants to continue to share.  Paraphrasing or using your own words can feel disruptive or make the person feel misunderstood or like they have to explain themselves.

The next rapport technique can be done without even speaking, so these can be used in group situations where a conversation is not available or can be added into 1:1 Situations where a conversation is also in use. This is called mirroring and matching.  Mirroring is when you match the body position of a person as if you were a mirror reflecting their position.  This can be done with body position, movements and breathing.   When the mirror is in place there is an instant relaxation of the parasympathetic nervous system as the critter brain recognizes you as the same, and therefore safe.  One can also match voice tone, pitch and cadence in a conversation to create mirroring and matching rapport. 

Now that you have the basic skills of building rapport, I encourage you to integrate them into your life and get a sense of how it brings greater connection, reduces conflict, and allows you to remain safe and authentic so that you can create more authentic connections with others.

So now let’s continue on to dive more deeply into being able to identify your needs in a situation so that you can access your truth and be able to request what you need for yourself and others.  Think about an experience you recently had where you had a minor conflict with someone and lost the ability to have a genuine, truthful, heart-based connection.  Pick an example that is no more than a 3 out of 10 on the emotional charge scale, with 10 being the maximum.   Take a moment to reflect on that situation.  What was happening and how did I make you feel?  Identify the primary emotions involved.  For example, you worked really hard on a project at work, putting in overtime and prioritizing the project over socializing until it was done.  You handed it in on time and were proud of your accomplishments and how hard you worked.  Your boss calls you into their office for a project review meeting and you think they are going to congratulate you on a job well done and give you another assignment with more responsibility since you proved your abilities, responsibility and skills in the last project.  Instead, your boss points out all the things you got wrong from typos to incorrect information to errors in your delivery timeline to feedback from a member of the project who felt excluded. 

Here’s where the authentic connection skills are essential to be able to stay present, in rapport, identify the feelings coming up, get in touch with your needs, understand where the other person is coming from and formulate a response that allows you to stay compassionate and invites the other person to receive what you are saying as a request rather than a demand.  All is the heat of the moment? Yeah right.  Ok fair enough, it does take practice but if you work each step and apply the skills I’ve covered in this series, you’ll soon be able to habituate and embody your authentic essence and be able to act from an empowered, fully present and genuine place.  Here’s how that would play out in this example.

As you listen to what your boss is saying, you cannot take what they are saying so personally that it diminishes your confidence.  You hold strong to your pride in the work you have done and listen to the negative feedback.  Allow yourself to feel the emotions coming up, without getting lost in them or being triggered.  You may feel angry, confused or frustrated.  If these emotions become overwhelming, then an old emotional trigger is being activated.  Do these emotions remind you of a time in your childhood when interacting with your parents?  If so, stay in rapport with yourself by gently reminding yourself that this situation is not the same as what happened in your past.  Stay present in the moment by connecting with your senses now.  What are you seeing, hearing, and smelling in the room around you? 

Acknowledge that this reminds you of a trigger from the past but put it on the shelf for now, promising to take a closer look at it when you are not sitting in front of your boss.  Avoid blaming yourself or your boss.  Blame only creates conflict by activating projection energies.  Now take a breath.  Notice what you notice and try to understand where your boss is coming from, looking at the situation from their point of view.  Staying connected in your heart, from a place of compassion you then notice the bags under. Your boss’ eyes and the tension in their body indicate they may be under a lot of stress.  You begin to recall that a major project your boss has been working on has fallen behind schedule and they are probably under a lot of pressure from their superior.  You also remember your boss is going through a divorce and their emotions are raw.  It doesn’t make it ok that they are taking out their stress and frustrations on you, but being aware of what is going on for them allows you to have greater compassion for the situation and let go of taking what they are saying personally.  When you can see a projection being aimed at you, then you can choose to not be the screen where it lands. 

All of this can happen in the span of 3 deep breaths.  Staying connected to your breath is a great way to stay present and allow the emotions to flow through rather than get trapped, escalate and explode. Physiologically, the chemical reaction associated with a feeling lasts for 90 seconds.  If you can stay present with the energy of the emotion for a minute and a half without reacting or analysing the feeling will subside enough for you to remain resourceful in a conflict situation.  Now, as the feelings become more manageable, identify the unmet need underneath the feeling.  You need to be seen and recognized for a job well done.  You need to get balanced, constructive feedback where there are good points as well as points to improve upon.  Now, using the body mirroring and keyword backtracking rapport skills you drop into a body mirror with your boss and say “I hear your feedback about the typos, delivery mistakes and the team member who felt excluded and I appreciate you letting me know.  I am feeling confused and frustrated with your feedback as I feel there were some positive things also.  I delivered the project on time, the majority of the team members were happy with my management, I was thorough in my approach which came from me working extra hours to complete it.  Do you have any additional feedback on what worked for you in my delivery of this project?  If you do, it would help me understand better how I am doing overall and then, if you are willing, we can formulate a plan to develop any skills you feel I may need to improve based on what you think was not up to par.”

This is the invitation for authentic connection and allows for being able to formulate a win-win situation with you and your boss to find a solution that enriches both of your lives, which is what authentic connection is all about.

Now take a moment and think about your conflict situation and work through this exercise on your own to begin to build your skills and develop trust in the process.

Tune in next week as I continue on with the authentic connection series with more languaging skills to build authentic communication and a guided meditation to allow you to more resourcefully unpack your feelings, and needs and understand the other perspectives involved in conflict.  If you’d like to learn more about me and my work, please visit my website for information on my offerings including my upcoming family constellation and consciousness medicine training beginning April 2024.  You can also stay connected on social media and sign up for my e-newsletter from the links on the homepage.

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