The relationships we establish, develop, and maintain with others is a key component to our success. Most can attest to this, which is why we put stock in the adage "It's not what you know, it's who you know."
But what's the prelude to building relationships? Establishing rapport.
The ability to establish instant rapport with strangers is a secret weapon in the relationship building process.
Relationships, by definition, are based upon relating to one another with an understanding of who we are. Rapport is about finding ways in which people who don't have relationships are connected. Rapport takes place in the moment; relationships crystallize in the future.
The link between interpersonal skills and the roles they play in building successful relationships is well documented, but it's emotional intelligence that is the shared tool and common denominator in building instant rapport, and quality relationships.
We must view our ability to establish instant rapport as a kick-starting mechanism to relationships. At the very least, they plant the seeds. So how do you become better at building rapport with others?
Focus on the human element. Find the things we all have in common regardless of class, status, personality, or sex. Such things would include your geographic origin (people love to share where they are from), family (people they are related to), and opinions and feelings (though some are more willing to share them than others).
The point is we all have something in common with others that can be used to build rapport. It's easier to find what that is when you suspend judgment, and find the willingness to focus on how you are similar to a stranger, rather than how you may be different.