Giggles, Christ on a bike, and a cherry of rapport building
Author: Lauren Evans – PASS Co-ordinator, University of Central Lancashire
What do all of these have in common? Well, for those not in the know, not a lot! But for the fortunate souls that know me, it will hopefully make them smile.
There is a message to get across, so let’s start with an intro – my name is Lauren and I work with the PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) Team alongside Carly, who recently posted about jelly and Excel (which you can read here: ‘You wouldn’t use a fork to eat jelly’, 2022)!
Although UCLan is not too well known to me and my working days here have not been many… prepare yourself, I LIKE coming to work. The main reason for that is because of the people on my team, and others working at the University. This positive feeling toward work is one that I am going to run with. Who fancies running with me? How many of you like coming to work, and how many get to have a laugh (or giggle) while on the job?
Ponder that while I discuss rapport building (‘How to Build Rapport Quickly – Avoid stealing the spotlight’, LinkedIn Learning), which is an important part of what makes my work experience positive. Firstly, the author is no expert but merely a human experiencing what it is like to build rapport with other humans – and that is where my understanding comes from. Experiences are going to vary.
Rapport, before I continue, is an emotional connection with other people (SkillsYouNeed, 2011-2022), and building on that connection aids the growth of the relationships you have with your work colleagues. This is vital in the workplace and education, because your colleagues will be more inclined to help you if you are on friendly terms, have helped each other out on previous occasions, and are willing to assist each other more generally. The work environment is much more friendly and positive, with jokes thrown in (or so I have found!).
Building rapport begins with yourself and then reflects in the relationships you have. Some good characteristics to develop are as follows: being authentic, being a good listener (trampoline, not sponge), and having curiosity. Developing those three has helped me in my role as I work with my colleagues and students. How have the characteristics helped? Well, I build rapport with people daily by remembering small facts about them, that they mentioned in passing, and then if I see them, I ask about that fact, and we go from there. This has been helping me to solidify the working relationships I have with people thus far.
Furthermore, a key theme of rapport building is focus; focusing on interactions you have, being present for those interactions, and asking questions that can further the conversation – which lets them know you are listening. One of the ways to focus the conversation with someone else and to avoid awkwardness, is by using the F.O.R.D (not Henry-related!) technique. F.O.R.D stands for family, occupation, recreation, and dreams. Should you need to, you can think of these four topics and broach one of them with a teammate or staff member. The aim of this technique is to help yourself and others feel comfortable talking about yourselves (see Forbes, 2018).
With that comfortable feeling comes a more relaxed working environment, which is what I have found. The relaxed environment comes from building that rapport with my colleagues and students, which has in part been done through the Vevox live polling app (Vevox, 2022), a useful platform on which participants can anonymously (or by name) put collective answers to a question or fill out a quiz. Vevox, as a tool of rapport building, is vital to education because it encourages students and colleagues to speak up, through the comfort of a device. Once the answers are in, the discussions that follow bring people together.
So, as part of the rapport-building construct, if you made it to this point, perhaps something to ask me to start a chat, is ‘have you used Vevox lately?’. I might give a puzzled look but bear with me, I will understand eventually. A giggle about it would probably follow and the ice, as they say, would be broken. Consider trying the app and see how interactive you can be with those around you.
‘You wouldn’t use a fork to eat jelly’ (UCLan CCL Blog)
‘How to Build Rapport Quickly – Avoid stealing the spotlight’ (LinkedIn Learning)
‘Building Rapport‘ (SkillsYouNeed)
Vevox polling application