Create a Magic Connection with Clients, Leads, and Business Associates -- Part II

Cora Foerstner

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Part I of this article explored how Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) pinpoints ways to gain instant rapport with clients, leads, and business associates, and more specifically, how we can use physiology, matching and mirroring to create instant magic communication.

Part II examines how NLP uses tonality and words to establish rapport.


While physiology accounts for 55% of communication among humans, tonality accounts for 38%. Most people have had the experience of someone saying, “I’m fine. Nothing’s wrong. " While the words on the page seem to indicate that this person doesn’t have a problem, the tone used speaks louder than the words. Without tone the words suggest that the speaker doesn’t have a problem. Consider irony and sarcasm; both are communicated through tonality. If a person says, “I’m fine. Nothings wrong, " in a pleasant voice, she creates a different meaning than if she says the same words though clinched teeth and a low angry tone, or with a flippant tone. Someone yelling “I’m not mad, " isn’t convincing. If this happens in a sitcom, we laugh. In real life, we dismiss the words and read the meaning from the tone of voice. Often tonality is more subtle than these examples, but still a powerful communicator. Boredom, excitement, anger, melancholy, disbelief, questions, enthusiasm, honesty are more often communicated through tone, rather than words.

When talking on the phone, it is crucial to be aware of tonality. In a phone conversation, both people are communicating via their tonality, often unconsciously. The business person that wants to create magic and rapport doesn’t leave tonality to chance.

Tonality includes:
tone (pitch: high, low);
tempo (speed: slow, fast);
timbre (quality: clear, raspy);
volume (loudness).

How does tonality work in practice? If you are talking to someone who has a high pitched voice, raise your pitch a little. Like matching and mirroring, you don’t want to imitate. Be subtle. If you are a man, raise your voice a little. Match the last few words someone says. Just that little matching will help to create rapport.

Speed is very important. People who talk fast are often impatient with people who speak slower. People who talk at a slow speed are often turned off by people who speech rapidly. For someone who naturally speaks fast, slower speaking people seems to take forever to say something. For someone who naturally speaks slow, the fast talker seems hyper, insincere. “City slicker, fast talking" suggest that the fast talker is trying to out wit or is trying to hide something.

I tend to be laid back, slower of speech. After all, I’m from California. We are easy going. I was in New York giving a presentation; the person who presented before me took more than her alotted time. My presentation was cut short by about 15 minutes. I stood up began speaking at what I considered high speed and told everyone that I was talking fast because I wanted to get through my entire presentation. Several audience members laughed and said, “We are New Yorkers. No matter how fast you talk, it won’t be too fast. " I couldn’t patch their speed. In contrast to New Yorkers, I visited a friend in Georgia. The southern drawl in Georgia was slow, hypnotic, and relaxed. It made me feel at home, but I felt like a fast talking city slicker.

Match the speed of the person with whom you are speaking. If someone’s speed is slower than your speed, slow down. Don’t be obvious. If someone’s speaks faster, speed up. This simple act can go a long way toward creating rapport.

Again with timbre and volume, match. Volume of voice can be very effective with someone who is angry. I learned this the hard way. A few years ago, I unwittingly angered another professor. As he became more angry, his voice grew louder. I was afraid he might become violent; so, I conscious kept my voice low and soft, believing that would calm him. I watched rather mystified as he grew more angry as I controlled my voice, trying to sound calm and in control. If someone is angry, try matching the volume of his voice without matching the anger. It might feel strange, but matching the volume creates rapport (I was breaking rapport). His anger is likely to dissipate as you establish rapport. Once the rapport is established, you can begin to lower your volume; if you have established rapport, he will follow you.

One other aspect to keep in mind for phone rapport. If you are the person calling. You set the pace for the phone call. If you have high energy, excitement, enthusiasm, you will put the person on the other end of the line into a better mood. You can maintain the energy, excitement, and enthusiasm while matching tone, temp, timbre, and volume. This was model for me about a year ago. I wasn’t feeling great and was rather down in the dumps. I phone to take care of some business. The women who answered the phone was energetic and excited. I immediately felt a shift in my mood. When I hung up, I was in a better mood. A few weeks later when I met this woman, I was predisposed to like her. She had immediately established rapport with me.


Words may only account for 7% of our communication, but it is an important 7% and more complex than other ways of establishing rapport.

Remember what I said in Part I: I could have a weekend seminar on rapport.

When communicating, predicates (verbs), key words, common experiences and associations are vital in establishing rapport. Common experiences and associations are obvious. These areas are often the bases of friendships and business associations. It goes without saying that establishing a common bond with a client, lead, or business associate is good business. Be honest when doing this.

Key words sometimes slip by under the radar. Begin to listen for key words or phrases that someone repeats. This is a simple way of establishing rapport. Repeat back key words. Slip them naturally into the conversation. Again use caution.

Predicates are a little more complicated. This is going to be the abridged version. Most people have preferred verbs that they repeat. This is more important than key words because the verbs signal a way of thinking. There are people whose primary mode of thinking are visual, auditory, kinesthetic (feelings and touch), and audio digital (they talk to themselves). What this means is that people process information through their preferred mode of thinking.

VISUAL: Someone who is visual will use words like see, picture, clear, foggy, vision, appear, look, reveal, view.

AUDITORY: Auditory people use hear, clear as a bell, that rings true; harmonize, resonate, tune in, tune out.

KINESTHETIC: Kinesthetic people use feel, touch, get a handle on, grasp, tap into, hard, concrete, catch on. These people think in terms of feeling and touch.

AUDIO DIGITAL: Audio digital people use words like understand, perceive, think, sense, experience, insensitive. These people do a lot of inner self-talk. They are very linguistically cognitive

What this discovery will help you do is communicate more clearly towards someone preferred way of thinking. As you begin to see how this works, it is easy to come to an understanding of how people connect and how they misunderstand each other. If someone is audio, you might say, “I hear what you mean. " If this product rings true for you, then . . . " With someone who is visual, you might say, “I can picture that. " If you can picture yourself with this product, then . . . " What you are looking for is their way of processing information, and you are using their preferred mode of communicating to communicate clearly with a client, lead, or associate.

Shortly after I learned this concept, I was teaching and a student asked me to explain something. He ended his sentence with, “I don’t have a clear picture of the concept. " When I heard the visual language, I repeated what I said, using see, picture, show. It was the same explanation using different verbs. The students smiled and said, “I see. It’s much clearer now. " At that point, I became a believer.

I’d suggest that practicing one area at a time. Start with matching and mirroring someone’s posture, or expressions, or blinking. Take it slow. It’s like learning anything else. Practice creates ease. Then move on to voice and words.

Always use these strategies with integrity. Can you use magic to make connections with others. Yes. Do it consciously and with volition. Make win win situations. If you win and if your client or lead wins, you have created magic.

Cora Foerstner is an entrepreneur and master trainer of Neuro-Linguistic Programing. She can be reached at 714-774-0624 or . Visit her web site:


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