CR and building rapport

We have already seen that cold reading techniques can help to establish rapport. In any conversation, if the other person feels that you understand them, and that there is plenty of room for agreement, they gain a sense of convergence and bonding. In other words, good rapport. If the other person feels that you do not understand them, and every conversational thread seems to fragment into disagreement, they gain no sense of convergence and bonding, and are unlikely to enjoy the encounter. Judicious use of some cold reading techniques might therefore help Fred to enhance his rapport with Ginger. A few examples should illustrate the point.

Consider the Rainbow Ruse, as applied to Fred's conversation with Ginger. Suppose that Ginger has been chatting about some of her work-related trials and tribulations. At a natural point in the conversation, Fred might offer this kind of feedback:

"It does sound very frustrating. From what you say, I get the impression you're usually quite calm, not the sort of person to over-react. But it seems from time to time all this pressure does tend to bring out your less calm side. I bet you can be get quite, um, demonstrative on occasion".

There you have it, a classic Rainbow Ruse which harnesses 'calm' and 'manic' into the same description. Yet a statement like this, offered at the right time, could seem the epitome of perceptive insight. And insight is a cornerstone of rapport.

Fred might also use a touch of Fine Flattery. The specifics will obviously depend on the flow of conversation. Suppose that Ginger has been talking about some of the pros and cons of her job, and the way some people are rather less reliable than they should be. Fred might say something like:

"It must drive you mad at times! I mean, from what you've said, I get the impression you're quite conscientious in your own way - you know, if you say you'll do something, you will actually do it! I imagine people find you quite dependable."

It's something and nothing - just a mild compliment offered in passing - but it may register with Ginger, and it doesn't harm Fred's chances of being considered quite perceptive. Of course, women can spot insincerity a mile away, so Fred should beware of issuing hollow compliments which show up on Ginger's 'creep' radar.

The Jacques Statement is especially applicable to a romantic context. As we have seen, this technique is based on the similar 'life phases' which we all pass through. Given that people generally date within their own age group, it is probably the case that Fred and Ginger's lives, in recent years, will have been passing through similar phases. For example, they might both be at the age where they have made the transition from their first 'fresh out of school' job to a second job which pays better but carries greater responsibilities. If Fred thinks about the problems, challenges, highs and lows he himself has felt in recent years, he can safely assume Ginger has had some of the same feelings, broadly speaking. It can't hurt to occasionally mention these parallels. The 'me too' sentiment is very good for rapport.

Fred can also make good use of Barnum Statements to instil a sense of rapport and understanding:

"I guess you sometimes feel you don't ask for much, but a little credit and recognition wouldn't hurt".

"You know, I get the impression you can be quite self-critical at times."

"Seems to me you're not the sort to just believe whatever

People say. I think you're a bit more independent than that. ou form your own conclusions".

These are just ordinary Barnums given a lick of conversational paint. On the printed page, they can seem rather trite, as Barnums tend to do. However, these kinds of comments may well encourage Ginger to conclude she is with someone who can appreciate her for who she is, understands her, and can relate to her.

Presentational Points

In the context of a psychic reading, I listed a number of Presentational Points. These all apply to Fred's evening with Ginger just as much as they do to psychic readings. For example, the first point was all to do with cultivating feedback and putting it to good use. Some of the key points were:

- maintaining a relaxed, intimate mood

- including response prompts

- asking open questions

- using eye contact

- noting body language cues

If Fred learns how to cultivate feedback in these various ways, and to use it, the chances are Ginger will regard him as more than averagely attentive and considerate.

Another of the presentational points concerned 'Sensory empathy'. As a broad generalisation, men tend to talk about what they think whereas women talk about what they feel. Although it's a small point, this can impede the development of good rapport. If Fred therefore takes care to express himself in terms of feelings rather than thoughts, this won't do any harm, and could subtly give their rapport a helping hand.

'Keeping it clear' is another very simple and yet significant presentational point. Fred's sparkling conversational repertoire is no good if Ginger finds it hard to understand him. Rapport is a subtle and elusive quality, and there are few clear-cut indicators. However, it is safe to say that if Fred provokes these responses:

"I'm sorry, can you say that again?"

"I'm sorry, I don't understand" then his 'clarity' could use a little work.

Ethics

Before concluding this section, a brief word concerning the ethics involved. If Fred knowingly employs these techniques as described, should we brand him a false, conniving, deceptive scoundrel?

It's a matter of opinion, but my own view is that this surely depends on Fred's character. If he really is decent, likeable, attentive etc., then you could say he is simply trying to ensure his good qualities shine through. If on the other hand, he is actually a sorry piece of time-wasting slime, then yes, his motives are deceptive and reprehensible. He deserves to endure cruel and unusual punishments - such as meeting women who play the same games.

This concludes our brief look at the potential application of cold reading techniques to a romantic context. There is probably a great deal more that could be said, but it would fall beyond the scope of this book. I feel I should add that while cold reading techniques may well have a 'romantic' role, I am wary of exaggerating their significance. When all is said and done, Ginger will always know whether she is with Prince Charming or King Creep, Mr. Right or 'Mister, forget it'. And all the cold reading skills in the world won't make any difference!

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