11 Ways to Network toward Rapport


Once rapport is established, people become more than groups – they become TEAMS.  Effective leaders know the value of building, establishing, and creating mutually agreeable professional relationships with staff, customers, and vendors.

Taking the time and getting to know people speeds learning names and fosters active engagement, increasing productivity.  Rapport makes small talk HUGE!

Rapport is the glue that binds personal and professional relationships, and reinforces the concept that people prefer to do business with those they consider friends.  Successful networking can be accomplished simply.

1.  Consider it Portable: Successful networking is an ongoing opportunity. Banish overthinking and keep yourself upbeat and light. Whether at an event, picking up your lunch, or at your child’s soccer game, keep your head and eyes up to remain open to spur of the moment meet-n-greets. Friendly facial expressions and open body language are a must to propel you forward. If time is money, remember there are only so many free samples

2.  Establish Commonalities: Share your mutual goals and interests. Why should you know each other? What is possible here? You can’t do it alone, or you would have. Connect, connect, and connect. Introverts can also successfully network as they tap into an inner passion. Create a spark of curiosity to open up the opportunity for the next meeting

3.  Own Your Half: Successful networking relies on effective communication. If each person takes responsibility for their half of the exchange, time and space can be respected. Make an offer for a fast chat, create interest, and then set a time to tell and sell later. Taking this responsibility builds trust.

4.  Meet in the Middle:  Following up earns respect. Set up a time to sit down and express your pitch by humbly asking if they wouldn’t mind helping you. You have already established a common problem.  Suggest partnering with them for both of your success. Ask thoughtful questions.

5.  Lagniappe: Give more than is expected, like a baker’s dozen, either with our without purchase. Adding value with a small gift, shows your thoughtfulness toward their needs. Giving it to them with both hands is also a generous gesture and you can add something, saying, “This is for you, for taking the time to meet with me. I hope you will find it as useful as much as I do.” Even if it’s a piece of paper with your tool of the trade on it – it was thoughtfully chosen for them, by you.  It can celebrate your new partnership and can pave the inroad to both of your success.

6.  WIIFM:  What is everyone’s favorite radio station? WIIFM! Knowing that people naturally want to know “W”hat’s “I”n “I”t “F”or “M”e establishes that you are not networking for your own selfish gains but that you actually have something of interest and value to them. Show and tell them your intentions. Teach them your concept without telling them what they need to do.

7.  Charisma Rules: Be the type of person YOU like to talk to – someone that looks you in the eye like they care to really listen – as if you were the only one in the room. Mean it. Own it. Listen with both ears and be interested. Empower yourself to tap into your inner mojo and jump in!  With practice, it gets so much easier; it will feel natural.

8.  Genuinely Care: Find and know what fuels your positive energy and secretly carry it in your back pocket. On a moment’s notice you can tap into your sense of what matters to you, breaking down the wall of intimidation, so you can..

9.  Lean into It: Literally lean forward and feel confident as you extend your hand to others. Successful leaders lean into their problems, so should we when given the opportunity to share our elevator speech. Body language will make or break your first impression.  Surprisingly, facing a fear head-on can calm you.

10.  Seek Partners: Overcoming your workplace challenges is more likely when you feel the strength of lapping everyone on the couch! Networking is like a jogging or fitness routine. You might dread it before you begin even when you know your time is well invested while networking. Truly believe together people are stronger and wiser, so get out there and…

11.  Ride the Rollercoaster: Spontaneous networking is a thrill! Create safe communication while listening carefully. Practice listening without pre-planning what you are going to say next because once you get your turn, enjoy the ride because it’ll all be over soon!

Tary Paris is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Francesca El-Attrash

Thanks Tary! As a networking amateur, I find this very helpful. WIIFM and Leaning into it are especially great to keep in mind! Definitely will consider going into these things with a Team mindset.


Great tips for establishing rapport through networking! I think rapport is often forgotten when talking about networking, but its a great all encompassing term that really helped me define what networking is all about, building trust and comfort in a professional relationship.