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A Shortcut to Good Rapport

by Sanya Weathers

I’m always advising community people to joke with their customers. At the same time, I also advise establishing good rapport with customers before joking around, because things that are funny between people who know each other are… well, not funny at all from a stranger.

(That’s why there are some words you simply cannot use online, by the way. It has nothing to do with being politically correct and everything to do with sensitivity. It’s not just the person to whom you are speaking that you have to worry about, it’s the ten people lurking and forming opinions.)

At any rate, true rapport with people is a function of time and shared experiences. Until you’ve spent the time and had the experiences, there is a shortcut.

Act like you already know them.

Click the links they send. Laugh at their jokes. Trust them, give them the benefit of the doubt, respect their intelligence. Assume that when you know them, you will like them.

You probably will, you know, unless you’ve taken your community job solely as a means to an end or because you’d rather do community than go dumpster diving for your dinner. If community is your career and you’re excited about the product you’re representing, you automatically have quite a bit in common with the customers.

It’s the same principle as faking a smile until it becomes a real smile. It sounds crazy… but it works.

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