Building Rapport in the Work Place

When coworkers get along well, everyone is able to give their best effort on the job and enjoy their time together. It also makes sure that they are cooperating to produce mutually beneficial outcomes, leaving everyone feeling heard, appreciated, and a valuable part in achieving the main goal. Here are four powerful ways to help build rapport at work.


Dr. Grace Lee

2 years ago | 4 min read

Who's your favorite coworker?  Are they someone who shares mutual interests and similar thinking?  In either case, this person is likely someone you've built good rapport with!  When we build rapport with someone, the dynamics of the relationship are full of harmony, empathy, and from there stems the possibility of collaboration and communication.

When colleagues have good rapport in the workplace, each person can truly do their best work and enjoy the time they spend with each other. It also ensures that they are working together to reach mutually beneficial outcomes, so that all parties walk away feeling valued, heard, and that they achieved their aims.

Building rapport is an important skill to develop. There are four powerful ways to help build rapport at work: demonstrate attentiveness, do some recon work to identify similarities, direct the conversation about them, and develop your appreciation.

Let’s look at each one further in-depth:

1. Demonstrate attentiveness

The first effective step in building rapport at work is demonstrating attentiveness. You want to show your colleagues that the most important thing to you is the conversation at hand. You can do this through both verbal and non-verbal cues:

  • Non-verbal cues: This refers to what you do with your body. Attentive body language is an open posture (i.e., no crossed arms), eye contact, nodding along, or smiling. These cues are very powerful because they show the “real” you — not just what you are choosing to say.
  • Verbal cues: It’s important to show that you are fully involved with the conversation by using techniques like paraphrasing or asking clarifying questions. You may also want to converse on a more personal level, but try to err on the side of caution when asking personal questions by looking for signals that they want to talk about their personal life.

2. Do some recon work

No, we’re not talking about spying on someone or invading their privacy! This kind of recon work is just keeping your ears and eyes open about things that they share or demonstrate is important to them. You want to find some commonalities between the two of you. For example, perhaps their children go to the same school as you, or you have similar interests.

When you do this kind of recon work to find commonalities, you can identify what they care about — it gives you a glimpse into their core values. These values are what drives them and informs how they make decisions. It can be helpful, therefore, to keep these in mind when talking and building rapport at work. You will get a better understanding of where they are coming from.

3. Direct the conversation about them

People love talking about themselves, because we are all experts on our own lives! So, why not build rapport at work by opening up a safe place for the other person to talk about themselves. Let them be the star of the conversation! Consider these tips:

  • Start by offering information about yourself. To set the tone of the conversation, you can start by sharing something that is a bit deeper or more personal. This gives the other person permission to open up and be themselves; you’ve created a safe and comfortable space for them to speak.
  • Match their actions. If the conversation is all about them, take their lead. A practical example is when you are out for a coffee or meal, order something similar to what they are. You don’t want to be sitting there with a steak dinner if they just ordered an appetizer! Let them take the lead in both the activity and the conversation.
  • Connect emotionally. If they are leading the conversation and sharing about themselves, make sure that you are responding. Celebrate with them if they share a win or empathize if they share something difficult.

4. Develop your appreciation

One way to build rapport at work is by approaching each conversation with the mindset that everyone has a worthwhile trait. What is it about them that is worthy of praise? Consider it and find a quality that is interesting, unique, or impressive. Encourage and praise them in that quality. This will establish you as a trustworthy person who is on their side. Appreciating people builds rapport in the workplace because it makes people feel valued.

Remember, rapport doesn’t always come naturally. There may be some colleagues that you find it easy to connect to, but with others it takes some work. Implement these techniques and see how well you do at building rapport at work!

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Created by

Dr. Grace Lee

My vision is to inject practical principles in education so that being educated truly means being able to create the highest quality of life with personal fulfillment & financial abundance. You can expect to hear original content with deeper insights without fluff. My mission is to share what they didn’t teach you in college, which are the keys to create your best life from your highest potential.







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