NLP rapport building 1 of most needed NLP skill

NLP rapport building is the skill that will help you in communication, coaching, sales, HR, personal, and almost all areas of your life where you need to interact with people.

What is rapport in NLP?

NLP rapport is the ability to relate to others by creating an environment of mutual understanding and trust.

If you check the word Rapport in the dictionary, it also means harmony, conformity, and affinity. 

Rapport in NLP is the most required skill to succeed as an NLP therapist, coach, or counselor. 

So Rapport in NLP creates an environment of trust and mutual understanding with other people.


People may not agree with one another but still can rapport with each other by using NLP rapport skills.

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What are the three key elements of NLP rapport?

The three key elements of NLP rapport include attention, empathy, and shared expectations.

You require the attention of the person you want to build rapport with, develop a sense of empathy and trust, and lastly, there must be some shared expectations (positive intentions) in building rapport with NLP.

What are the NLP rapport building techniques?

There are many NLP techniques available for NLP rapport building to choose from.

For example, NLP matching and mirroring, calibration, pacing and leading, NLP logical levels of thinking, and many more.

To understand NLP rapport building techniques better, I would advise you to read and understand representational systems in NLP, NLP submodalities, NLP meta model language patterns, and NLP Milton model language patterns.

Now let’s understand each NLP rapport building technique in detail.

NLP mirroring and matching

Research in behavior and personality has shown that NLP mirroring and matching – aka copying other person’s posture, gesture, and words can- can help build trust and establish rapport.

What is mirroring?

Mirroring, in simple words, is copying another person, just like a mirror. If they raise their right eyebrow, you can raise your left eyebrow.

Imagine you are looking at yourself in the mirror. Your reflection repeats simultaneously in just the opposite. 

Word of caution – Be mindful that the subject does not feel offended that you are imitating them.

The best way to do NLP mirroring is doing it with respect and harmony. 

What is matching?

Matching is just opposite to the mirroring here, and you can take little time to repeat the posture, gesture, or words.

If your subject raises their right eyebrow, you also raise your right eyebrow.

In NLP matching, there is a small-time gap available to you, and you can make changes or decide whether to match or not.

How NLP mirroring and matching can help you to build rapport?

NLP mirroring and matching helps to build rapport at the unconscious level. Let me give you one example.

Have you ever noticed? Whenever two best friends are together, they tend to have the same words, same postures, gestures, and tastes.

They mostly act and sound alike.

People call it chemistry or common vibe, but it is simply NLP mirroring and matching.

You can achieve rapport with NLP mirroring and matching almost in an instant. But both require patience and practice.

NLP rapport building

5 things to match in getting rapport NLP

Here are the 5 things to match or mirror in getting rapport in NLP.

  1. Posture
  2. Gesture
  3. Facial Expression
  4. Tone/Speech Rate
  5. Sensory Predicates

Now let’s understand these 5 things to match or mirror in getting rapport NLP in detail.


You may be aware of the mind-body connection. Our feelings and behavior affect our posture. On the other hand, our posture can largely affect our feelings and behavior.

For Example, We are supposed to keep our back straight in most exercises and while sitting. When we are keeping our back straight, our attention is at its best.

There are many studies on body language and ergonomics that denote what posture can mean.

To build rapport, you need to be in the same posture as your subject or client.

Observing when we have opposite body postures isn’t easy to agree on. 

If your subject is sitting cross-legged, you can also sit cross-legged by mirroring or matching. However, take time to follow the posture of the client. It should not look like you are imitating them.

Your aim here is to find sync in the posture that you both feel comfortable around one another.


As I said, the mind and body are connected; they affect each other.

Gestures convey our internal feeling, and we sometimes express our internal emotions via gesture coupled with posture.

However, we need to know the cultural background before mirroring and matching gestures.

If your client uses hand movement along with straight back posture, you can match that.

You can also match the speed with which this micro gesture happens in real-time.

You need to observe the occurrence of gestures for positive and negative feelings of the client and use them accordingly.

I have always faced the problem while mirroring gestures because clients almost notice what you are doing.


I prefer making matching gestures, and you can do the opposite but similar-paced activity.

If your client is swaying in the chair, you can make swaying hand movements. For example, if your client tilts your head at the right, you can tilt at the left.

Facial Expression

The face is the mirror of internal feelings and emotions. The majority of humans have an expressive face.

You can observe and tell when the person is angry, happy, confused, or sad most of the time by just looking at their face.

Now, mirroring and matching facial expressing can be easy, but don’t mimic them. Follow them.

To practice NLP rapport building, I suggest you start with facial expression. 

You can mirror smile and happy emotions/expression almost spontaneously, and the best part of this it even though you client might have noticed it they do not mind.

You can also focus on the blink rate of the client; by observing blinking, you can know when the person is anxious, focused, or simply lying. By the way, liars blink more than average.

Tone and speech rate

Imagine you are in conversation with someone who has some hearing problem. You tend to shout, and surprisingly that person also shouts in the conversation.

Have you observed when we are spoken to in a whisper, we tend to answer in a whisper almost most of the time.

So when you observe your client speak slowly, you can also speak slowly at their pace. Or you can take them to the opposite side by speaking really fast. It will make them follow you.

Matching and mirroring tone/speech can be the second thing after observing the blinking you can do to establish the rapport.

Sensory Predicates

We all have our preferred predicates, as we have learned in the representational system in NLP and NLP submodalities.

If you can observe the keywords and find the preferred representational system of the client, you can change your words accordingly.

There are four types of sensory predicates,




Auditory digital

The person with preference to the Visual predicates will use words like see, look, view, clear, foggy, bright, short-sighted.

Auditory predicates include words like listen, tell, hear, rings the bell, sounds good, etc.

Kinesthetic predicates include touch, feel, sharpness, grasp, get in touch with, etc.

Auditory Digital will include predicates like learning, process, digest, experience, think, know, etc.

It would help if you used common predicates in your communication to get rapport with the client.

For Example.

If your client says, “I have listened to your idea and would like to hear more about the solutions that you offer.”

You can reply to this by “I am glad that this idea rings the bell to you, now listen carefully about this…..”

NLP Pacing and leading

NLP pacing and leading can be used to build NLP rapport skills. However, NLP pacing and leading can be used with almost all NLP techniques.

What is NLP Pacing?

NLP Pacing is matching your client’s posture, gesture, or rate of speech. So, yes, the pacing is basically matching only.

But in NLP pacing, your focus is on matching at the same rate with the client.

For Example.

If your client speaks slowly, you also speak as slow as your client.

The idea here is to match their speed.

What is NLP leading?

NLP leading is taking your client in the opposite direction to break the pattern they are following.

For Example.

If your client speaks slowly, you speak a little faster until the client starts to keep up with you.

NLP pacing and leading bring compliance in your client, which is necessary for building rapport. 

How to build rapport with NLP pacing and leading?

You can use NLP pacing and leading for almost anything, and you can pace ideas, beliefs, words, behavior, and much more.

To build rapport with clients, start with pacing, observe the words they are using, and you can also use those words by giving them larger meanings.

For Example

I must exercise more to become more healthy.

Pacing: Yes, you must do exercise daily for at least one hour. Otherwise, you may not be able to keep up your health.

You can use NLP leading to lead them to wherever you want them to focus by suggesting the solution.

Check out this NLP pacing and leading here

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Rapport building NLP communication model

The NLP communication model can also be used to build rapport as part of NLP rapport building.

We know from the NLP communication model that most of the information is either deleted, distorted, and generalized in any communication.

You can build rapport with almost anyone if you understand the NLP communication model and NLP meta model language patterns.

Your task is to determine which representational system your client prefers, which information is mostly deleted, distorted, and generalized by your client. Then, later, you can change your script accordingly.

Imagine, you can know what generalization your clients follow, and you know their preferred representational system. How much benefit will that be to you?

The NLP communication model also shares the values and beliefs the person has, and understanding your client’s values can help you build rapport with them.

You can create your speech or script around the beliefs and values of your clients.

Reading NLP techniques is fun and practicing them is even more fun, but we need NLP scripts while applying these NLP techniques.

I have created a small book of NLP scripts of the 7 most used NLP techniques. You can use them in your practice for only $10. You can buy the book from here.  Buy NLP scripts

What is the test for rapport NLP?

What is the test for rapport in NLP? Or how do we know that we have built successful rapport with clients?

There is no set rule to know whether you have build rapport or not. However, if you can make your client comfortable around you, make him feel friendly and open, you have gained rapport.

If you have tried heavily to build rapport with NLP mirroring and matching, try to change your posture and gesture. If your client is in rapport with you, they will also change posture and gesture.

If you have tried only tonality and speech rate, observe the words. If they are also using your preferred predicates, that means you have built the rapport.


NLP rapport building