a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well.

A lot of people use the word “rapport” but relatively few of them sit down and ponder its deeper meaning.

When you think about it, building rapport is the heart and soul of effective communication. You don’t have to be a hostage negotiator to gain real value from building rapport with everyone you meet in your everyday life. The simple act of taking the time to do so will make all your communication more effective.

The question, then, is how? Why is it that you feel as though you connect easily and effortlessly with some people, while others remain forever at an arm’s length?

The answer is much simpler than you might expect, and there’s an easy solution to be had as well. That solution is mirroring.

See, when you meet someone with a personality type that’s very different from yours, it’s natural to get defensive, but doing so only highlights the differences between you.

If you look at video of an interaction between someone who is behaving aggressively and someone who is acting defensively, you’ll notice striking differences, even if the tape is muted. You can tell right away that there’s no way these two are ever going to get along, much less build any sort of rapport.

Next time you encounter someone you can tell you’re just not clicking with, here’s the secret: mirror them.

Adopt a similar posture and tone of voice. Match them move for move, even down to paying attention to their breathing and adopting the same rhythm. The effect is almost immediate, and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Within seconds, you’ll feel the beginnings of a connection, and after just a few minutes, you’ll find that you no longer have to concentrate to keep mirroring. Once you’re in sync, it maintains itself automatically.

It’s a small but incredibly powerful trick, and by mirroring the other person’s behavior, you’ll find it much easier to understand their feelings and ideas, which is, after all, the essence of building rapport.