Let’s talk about one of the more subtle ways to build rapport and maintain it. Sometimes if you dive right into a story with someone, they are not in a state of mind to listen. They may not be interested in the subject, or they may not have the time to listen, or they just have too much else to think about at the moment.
There’s a technique to build rapport that lets you test whether your language exchange partner is interested and ready, willing and able to listen to what you have to say. I picked this up from a conversational hypnosis course by a guy named Igor Ledochowski.
He calls it using rapport hooks. The way it works is that you give someone a small chunk of information with pieces missing. The missing pieces arouse curiosity and get the other person to ask you questions.
Let’s say I was telling you a story and I say something like:
“It’s a good thing I had an extra pair of shoes in the car when I left for work this morning. To get me out of the car they had to destroy the pair I was wearing. When I got out of the hospital after six hours, they let me borrow some clothes, but there weren’t any extra shoes available.”
You can see from the paragraph above that I have offered you some information. But there are holes in the story which make you want to ask questions to find out more about what happened.
If you ask those questions that have been raised in your mind, I know that you are interested and are in a frame of mind to actually receive the additional info that I can give you.
An important part of the technique is that you stop speaking after you have given the initial bit of information.
One huge benefit of using rapport hooks is that you avoid wasting time talking at someone who isn’t even interested.
It’s also fun to craft pieces of information in a foreign language that have strong enough hooks to get another person to become curious.
This is just one more way that you can build rapport with a language exchange partner and have fun playing with the language at the same time. As you can see, you don’t have to have a great degree of skill in a foreign language to use this technique to build rapport, learn a language and have fun doing it.
Take this technique out for a test run and leave a comment below with your results.