My Personal Vision of Rapport Building
One thought, in particular, stood out to me as I was reading Unit 6 of the Business English course. That was how to relate to others who are from different cultures around the world. So as a teacher relating to students means in my mind establishing connections (establishing rapport). I believe rapport is the foundation that binds a teacher to students. Without rapport, there’s no trust and poor communication which is the opposite of what I am trying to achieve.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Loretta J. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
So how do I establish rapport?
As of this writing, I do not have experience teaching English as a foreign language so building rapport with students abroad is not only intriguing to me but the key to my success in the classroom as well as the students. I am a native English speaker and have many many years of business experience. So, establishing rapport has been a vital part of my professional life and luckily one of my strengths. I have always been able to relate and communicate with just about anyone. Now it’s time to use that skill in teaching students abroad from different cultures.
Also Read: The Art of Teaching New Vocabulary
What does this look like?
For me, a smile is always first, then I try to remember the person's name. I find being pleasant and calling someone’s name in conversation is meaningful. Establishing rapport means I make sure to find out what the person's needs and wants are. This way I can begin to build a connection. I believe listening is crucial when trying to build rapport. Listening will be especially important for me when students who speak different languages than myself are in the classroom. When I listen I learn! When I’m establishing rapport I’m always my true self “ what you see is what you get”. However, even when there are differences in opinions or differences in business ideas, I’m always respectful and listen to what the other person has to say. I try to learn what the personal goals are. What are their needs and wants? This will be important to business English students as they try to achieve success in their respective professions. I focus when speaking to an individual and am aware of my body language.
For example, if my arms are crossed then it will probably appear that I’m closed off or not interested in what the other person is saying. Body language can speak volumes as it can show your mood or maybe even your personality. I’ve found people like people who are similar to themselves, that’s why I always try to find a common interest.
Why is this important?
Well, it helps me establish rapport because now I have some information to build the conversation. For example, someone may have mentioned their dog, well since I have dogs this is a common ground that interests both of us and something I will remember for future conversations. I have also learned not to take things personally. Everyone is different and sometimes the way words are stated is different from the intent. So I focus on the positive. Lastly, be happy for successes! I try to be happy when individuals, as well as myself, achieve the goals they set. These are the things that enable me to establish rapport.
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