8 Rapport Building Questions to Maximize Performance, Productivity, and Commitment
“Without credible communication, and a lot of it, the hearts and minds of others are never captured.” – John P. Kotter, Harvard Business School
Almost all leaders agree that effective communication is a critical business skill. Without effective communication, organizations will never reach their full potential. Despite its recognized importance, many organizations struggle with effective communication.
As a leader, one important aspect of effective communication is the potential role that questions have in either increasing engagement or potentially lowering morale.
The goal of course is to enhance engagement and commitment among team members so organizations can thrive and come closer to their full potential. This is where rapport building questions play an important role.
What Are Rapport Building Questions?
Rapport building questions are questions that help genuine communication. These are more engaging than surface-level questions that may prompt a brief interchange but are not designed to create meaningful communication. In contrast, rapport building questions focus on the other and are designed to build connections by expressing curiosity about the other person and what they have to say. Such questions should be a little unexpected but should not produce discomfort.
For example, asking an employee if they have finished a task is an important question but not necessarily rapport building. An example of a rapport building question might be, “How did you like this project?” Or “What kind of projects do you enjoy when not at work?”
Why Are Rapport Building Questions Important?
Rapport building questions inquire about a person’s unique experience. They express curiosity and interest about another person. They supply a context for sharing and allow team members to get to know each other beyond purely superficial connections. Rapport building questions allow the questioner to respond in an open and agreeable manner which has a positive effect on the other and encourages dialogue.
The mature leader knows to ask questions that further the recipients’ access to themselves. They know that contributing to another person’s personal reflection and understanding has enormous benefits for everyone. When a person can gain greater access to their potential, they are more committed, they are more engaged, they have more to offer, and more importantly they want to offer it.
8 Examples of Rapport Building Questions
- How would you describe the most impactful person in your life?
- What actions by others make you feel valued or respected?
- What is the hardest thing for you to demand of yourself?
- What conditions bring out the best in you?
- What is your biggest dream?
- How would you describe the most effective feedback you have ever received? How did you feel after receiving it?
- What liberates your passion at work?
- How often do you laugh?
Guidelines to Enhance Rapport Building Questions
Here are four guidelines on how to use rapport building questions to begin purposeful conversations with others. These questions may be used to address performance issues or to encourage and recognize an already high achieving team member.
- Begin such conversations with an attitude of discovery. You want to see the situation from their point of view.
- Acknowledge the person’s feelings and perspective. Repeat what you believe their perspective is to them and ask them to confirm or correct what you said. This communicates you are listening closely and understand their position.
- Work towards mutual solutions. Oftentimes, the simple act of communicating with another human being in an open and honest manner will naturally lead to ideas and/or potential solutions.
- If you find that you are being defensive, remember you are not perfect. The key is to quickly disengage emotionally, so that you can recover your balance and keep the conversation moving in the right direction. This creates an atmosphere where rapport building questions can be most effective
When conversations are initiated in alignment with these guidelines, there is great potential for a team member to feel increasingly engaged and committed to the leader’s vision and organization as a whole. This has the potential to create a ripple effect and increase open communication among team members.
And the best part is that it all begins with a simple question!
Going a Step Further
Using rapport building questions is a good step towards fostering deeper connections and communication in the workplace. Beyond that, seasoned leaders know that rapport building questions are just one piece of the puzzle. In order to continue creating an environment conducive to increased performance, productivity, and commitment, organizational leaders must continue on their individual journey towards personal mastery. As leaders continue to increase their own results through the process of personal mastery, they become better equipped to transfer that knowledge onto their workforce.
At CEOE, we are masters at guiding leaders on their journey towards personal mastery. Get in contact so we can discuss how we can help you on your journey.