Hello, Joshua Boswell here with Copywriter Marketer. This is a video newsletter series. Today we’re going to talk about how to create rapport in print. We’re going to talk specifically about this writing skill, this ability to create rapport in print. We’re going to talk about three specific questions:
- What is rapport?
- Why do you want it?
- Why is this important to have and to create, and how do you get it?
First, let’s talk about what rapport is. I think this can best be described through this experience that we have all had. Not long ago, I got a phone call. I was driving down the road and my phone rang. I reached over and I kind of glanced down at it, trying to keep my hand on the wheel. Eyes forward, and it said, “Dream Girl.” I hit the button and it came up on my car-phone speakers, “Hey Margie! How are you?” It didn’t even ring hardly twice before I answered. A few hours later driving down the road still. Again my phone rings. I glance down at it. Looked at who it is and it’s got this Florida number. A Florida number! Now, over the past few weeks I’ve been getting this phone call from all different parts of the country telling me that I’ve been named in a lawsuit and I should call immediately and provide payments for this settlement. I mean, clearly a scam, so my response of course is, “Reject call” and add that to yet another long string of banned numbers in my life.
Now, the first caller, my dear wife, the official Dream Girl, the first caller has a massive amount of rapport in my life. Right? The second caller, a telemarketer, scam artist, whoever they are, I don’t know who they are, has zero. Like, way over here past negative rapport in my life. I don’t want to deal with them. I don’t want to talk to them, nothing about it. That is rapport.
Rapport is when you are in a state where you have weight in somebody’s life. That weight causes you to be able to have a connection with them. That’s rapport and they become compliant. We’re going to talk about that in just a moment.
What is rapport? Rapport, broken down very succinctly is, number one: When you are similar to somebody else. When you first go up and meet somebody, you shake their hands, say, “Hey Bob. How you doing? Nice to meet you.” Then what do we immediately start doing? We start a conversation with them. “Hey, where you from? What kind of work do you do? How did you get involved in that work”, etc. What are we doing when we start asking those kind of questions? I’ll tell you exactly what we’re doing. We’re trying to find similarities. We’re trying to find connective tissue that would start to create a relationship. That expression, that “opposites attract” is phooey! At least in human beings it’s phooey. Now, yes, are there things that we admire about other people that are different than what we have? Yes, and I’m going to come to that point in just a second. The first and strongest connectivity tissue that we have with other human beings is similarities. Similarities create rapport.
The second thing is that we like somebody. When we like them, we have rapport with them. When we like people, we usually like them because they fill a need in our life. They help us to feel special. They help us to feel unique. They help us to feel like we are loved. When somebody else makes us feel that way then we feel connected to them, so we give them a portion of our rapport. We have this draw to them.
The third thing of what is rapport is when you see somebody that has a certain level of skills, or ability, or social standing, or physique, or financial standing, or whatever it is. When you see that in somebody else and you want that. You want to be similar to them because you see that what they have looks like it’s making them happy, making them feel loved, making them feel special and unique. When you see that that’s the result of these things that they have in their life, you want to be like them. You want to be similar to them so you give them a portion of your rapport hoping that in doing so, they will kind of lead you along or some of their greatness will rub off on you. Some of their status or some of their income, or whatever it is. Some of their abilities will rub off on you. You can become like them, similar and then you can have that same experience of feeling loved, and feeling special, and feeling unique and being different. All those kinds of great things that we seek as human beings.
Now again, why do you want rapport? I think it is very, very simply stated in this simple word called compliance. That’s why you want rapport is because rapport brings compliance. Go back to my simple example of Margie calling me. When Margie calls, I comply by answering. I take action that she desires. She calls because she wants to talk to me so I answer the phone and I respond to that. She has rapport with me therefore I comply with her wishes and her desires.
I’ll give you a great example of this. Margie is about to go in for foot surgery. She’s already had foot surgery on her right foot and she’s about to go into foot surgery for her left foot. She has really bad, flat feet and this is a corrective surgery. It’s planned. It’s not an urgent catastrophe or anything like that. It’s just the way it is. Well, there was some complications with our insurance deductible, the billing. We were getting multiple billing statements of stuff that we had already paid. Then there was this whole situation with the time that the surgery was going to get on. There’s this whole stack of bureaucratic red tape going on there with this surgery and we wanted it all to go away.
Margie calls up and she got one of the admittance people on the phone that we had talked to last time we were in there and had developed some rapport with. This was a young mother and she was amazed at Margie’s ability to be so calm, cool and collected, and have eleven children, and manage all of it and the household. She can clearly see that I was a handful and Margie just gracefully handled me. This woman had a high, high, high amount of respect for Margie. She wanted to be like her, therefore there was this level of rapport.
Margie called up. “Hey I’ve got this problem with the insurance and there’s this thing and this other thing.” This gal says to her, “Oh, you know what? I probably should talk to my supervisor before I do this, but let me just change up some things really quick in the computer for you.” Click-click-click-click, she types away. It takes her a moment to stop and boom, all of the problems magically melt away. The times got changed, the insurance got resolved. All the things that we were dealing with, the bureaucratic red tape with this hospital system all magically, poof, went away.
Now, that gal complied with Margie’s request! Why did she do that? Because they had rapport. You as a persuasive writer, whether you’re writing blog posts or content on a website, or sales letters, or whatever it is that you’re writing, you need to create rapport with the reader so that they will comply, so that they’ll think the thoughts that you’re suggesting they think so that they’ll take action in a way you’re suggesting them to take action. In other words, they’ll buy something or click on something or sign up for something or go to another page, or refer somebody. Whatever it is that’s going on there, you want them to comply with your request. That’s why you have rapport. Okay?
Let’s talk for just a few minutes about how you create rapport. How do you create rapport? Well, the number one way by far, the best way to create rapport is in a live person-to-person setting. Now why is that? Well, one of the reasons is because in a live person-to-person setting you can read the non-verbals. See, we tend to create rapport, determine if we’re going to grant rapport on two different levels: verbal and non-verbal. When you’re with somebody you can see what their facial expressions are like. You can hear what the intonation is in their voice. You can see their body posture. You can read them, you smell them, you can hear them, you can touch them and you can develope rapport very rapidly because you’re triggering all the different senses and you’re creating this similarity or this connectivity through them liking you, you liking them. You’re showing them that they should be like you or they want to be similar. You’re invoking that desire inside of them. In a live setting, I’m not going to say it’s easy but it’s a lot easier.
That’s the number one way to create rapport, is to get live face-to-face with people, but guess what? We’re writers! If rapport is developed through these five senses that we have and is invoked through the verbal and non-verbal communication, then how do we do that as writers? How do we create instant rapport with somebody as a writer so that we can gain compliance and so that they will take the action that we want them to take. Whether it’s to think a certain way, to feel a certain way, buy a certain thing, whatever that is. If the number one thing is this then the number two way, and this is a great secret that I want to share with you that I hope you’ll put into practice because not very many people talk about this, but really, this is the fundamental bottom line. How do you create that rapport in writing? You invoke imagination. Let me explain that.
Imagination is a powerful thing. In fact, it has been proven multiple times that the brain and, specifically the subconscious part of your mind, cannot distinguish between imagined and reality. That’s why when we sit down and watch a 3D movie and they take you on one of those wild roller coaster-style rides where you’re coming up to the edge. You know, click-click-click-click, and all of a sudden the train, the mining cart, or the car, or like Polar Express. If you’ve seen Polar Express, they take the train down to the gulch and they got to strap on right to the front grill and you’re coming up over the edge. All of a sudden, whoosh, then you plow down the hill. Well when you watch that, particularly in 3D, it’s an imagination. It’s just a thought. It’s just pictures but what does your stomach do when you watch that? Well if you’re like me, what happens is your whole gut goes right up in your throat just like you’re on the roller coaster! Well, why is that? Because your mind does not distinguish between imagined and reality.
This is why serious athletes and actors and people that are involved with high-performance stuff, that’s why they go over this in their mind again, and again, and again. They rehearse their scripts. They practice out the details. I heard a study that Michael Jackson used to go and he would perform his performances, his music videos over, and over, and over, and over in his mind. In his imagination. He would get it perfect. Then he would go out and physically invoke it to create physical muscle memory. A lot of it was already there because he had imagined it. Right? Because he imagined it.
I remember years ago when I was a teenager and my sister walked in one day and she had this huge, thick book. She said, “This is an amazing book. I really think you should read it.” She hands it to me. I take this book and it’s heavy! “What is this book?” I read on the cover “Les Misérables.” I’m like, “Les Misérables? I heard the music and here’s the book.” I sit down and I start reading it. I’m pulled in. I’m enthralled right away. It fascinated me. I don’t know why but all of a sudden I found myself grappling and trying to escape from the boat just like I was Jean Valjean! Being there when he gets caught and thrown back into prison and standing there raising my fists in anger and frustration at the Thénardiers for the brutal way that they treated Cosette. Then being the hero, the story with Valjean as we come in and rescue Cosette and carry her off!
For days on end I’m sitting there reading this book. It’s like 1200 pages. I’m not that fast a reader. I remember coming to the end, sitting on my bed just crying like a baby. The final scenes of Jean Valjean’s heroic, majestic, amazing life unfold as he selflessly steps away. I think foolish, but selflessly steps away from the wedding of Cosette and Marius and gives up himself so that they can have joy and happiness. I’m just sitting there bawling my eyes out. I’m there! I’m experiencing this. Complete physicality is wrapped up in a roll in reading this book.
It’s interesting. On a side note: years later, I walked into my daughter, Esther’s room one day and there’s Esther with “Les Misérables” in her hands and with a bunch of used tissues there. She’s right towards the end and she’s got a box of tissues and stuff all around her. She’s crying and crying like, “Dad, why does he have to die?!” We cried together. It was great. Victor Hugo invoked all of this through a book. Through words! He created inside of our imagination, physicality. We physically experience all these scenes from this book because of the way that it was portrayed. You know what? It created rapport. I read that book and I wanted to be like Valjean. I wanted be heroic. I wanted to be selfless. I wanted to be godly, I wanted to be compassionate. I wanted to be merciful. I wanted all those things because I had rapport with this character! You can do the same thing in print.
I want to give you five different ways to do this. Kind of peel the curtain back and share with you some of the insights that allow this kind of deep, emotional residence and attachment to happen. When that happens, you create a rapport which leads to compliance. Let’s talk just a minute about these five things that you can do to create that rapport in print.
The first one is you use their language. The reader’s language. You step into their mind. You find the conversation that’s going on in their mind. You look at not just the words they’re using but the language, the way that they’re using those words, and you step right into the conversation. You pick out and you carry on with their language.
The difference between their language and their words is best described like this: I speak English but so do some of my friends in Great Britain. They live in London. They speak English. I speak English, but do we speak the same language? No! We don’t! Sure we can understand each other but that deep connection happens when, and I’m probably going to get this wrong, but when my British friends say “gare-age” and I say “garage”, we’re using the same word but we’re talking different languages. It means the same thing but we express it differently. You’ve got to be able to understand what’s going on inside somebody’s mind and what the nuances are of what it means, and you’ve got to be able to use that language. Now, how do you do that? The only way that I know how to do that is to really step into their world and become part of that world for a little while.
Years ago I had an opportunity to write for a company called AutoTap. They make this little computer that plugs into your car and it gives you readout of what kind of gas mileage you’re using, what are the error codes, how your system’s firing, and cylinders, and all those kinds of stuff. It tells you all about your engine. Well, the main buyer of this are geeked-out people who love, love, love cars. Classic cars that they’ve added computer chips to or new cars that they’re trying to juice up and pimp out.
I started to go to car clubs and I started reading their stuff. I submerged myself. I just planted myself in their world for a while and I listened to the way that they talked about stuff. Like this phrase, they “pimped out their car”. It’s sounds kind of like, “Ugh! Gross.” What they mean is that they add all of this stuff to make it look cooler, and sexier, and hotter. To make it look faster and sometimes to make it actually faster, and to make it do cool tricks. They’re pimping out their cars! Well, I never use that expression in my whole life but when I wrote the copy for AutoTap, I spoke their language. I talked to them. We talked about what that meant. It sold very, very well because I was speaking their language.
The second thing is intonation. In print you can intonate. First of all, let’s give you an example of intonation. To do this I’m going to read you something and then I’m going to play you a short, tiny little audio clip of someone else reading it. I want you to notice the difference in intonation.
Someone that I admire and respect is a gal named Marianne Williamson. She wrote something that’s become wildly popular among a lot of people and that’s this thing called “Our Deepest Fear”. I’m going to read the first sentence from that quote. I won’t read the whole thing. It’s a marvelous quote. You should read the whole thing if you haven’t. Marianne Williamson. She says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Okay, that’s my rendition. Same words, that’s my rendition. Now I want to play for you Marianne Williamson, herself, reading this. Now I’m just going to stick this up to the microphone so that you can hear it. She did this little meditative thing where she’s reading this quote. Her own quote and she’s reading it. Now listen to the way that she intonations this quote.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
Okay. What you can see there is there’s the different influx of the voice. My voice tends to be very hyped up and animated, you know? Marianne Williamson is calm, and centered, and relaxed. Right? We see these differences in intonation. Now, it’s sort of a head scratcher. How do you talk different intonation in copy? How do you do that in writing? Well, what you do is you use bad grammar, and indentations, and bolds, and underlines, the dot-dot-dot stuff.
It’s written that, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.” No punctuation at all but if you wrote this out and you wanted to emphasize it a certain way, you might say something like, “Our deepest fear is not ‘dot-dot-dot, paragraph-break, indent’ that we are inadequate ‘period, new paragraph’ but ‘dot-dot-dot paragraph-break, indent’ but that we are powerful beyond measure.”, and “beyond” and “measure” could be underlined and italicized and bolded. Right? You see the insight and then when someone’s reading that, they mentally know where to put the emphasis versus if you just wrote those two sentences out. Then they would read it and then they would have to pull in the intonations from their own head, and that may or may not resonate with them. If they weren’t familiar with it and hadn’t read it before, then maybe they wouldn’t put emphasis on it. They would just read it. You can add that intonation. You can add that emphasis by the way that you structure your sentences.
Sometimes this requires really bad grammar. Sometimes it requires formatting that drives editors bonkers but it’s okay because when they read it, you’re creating rapport. You’re connecting with them through the intonations that they would use and not just the words. Not just the language but the intonation that they would use. Okay?
The third thing is you want to use similar emotionally-charged expressions. Again, this requires you to sort of be an insider to know what’s going on inside their head and then what those words mean to them. As a very silly example, when I was thinking of this I was thinking of when I was a kid. I used to love watching … I was a kid in the early 80s and I loved watching cartoons. I’m not going to say that’s a good thing. Our children don’t watch a lot of cartoons these days. Of course I don’t watch any, but when I was a kid I watched a lot, a lot of TV and I watched a lot of cartoons.
For example, one of the cartoons that I loved was Thundercats! If you have ever seen Thundercats you know it starts off with this red streak streaking across the sky through the universe, coming down and looping around the Earth, coming up and hitting the middle of Lion-O’s massive, major sword with the big red cat-eye in it. Then he says, “Thunder!”, and he strikes his sword. Then he holds it out and he goes, “Thundercats Ho!” Then the big red blur goes out and the red eye shines over things. All the other Thundercats stop and they turn in their magical powers and they come to save Lion-O and the rest of the cats are all happy. Right?
When I say, “Thunder Thunder Thundercats”, if you were a Thundercats junkie like I was when I was a kid, then when you hear those words it gets you emotionally charged. It’s this little expression that revs you up because it makes you feel powerful, and courageous, and fearless, and invincible. Like Lion-O was! Right? You’re like there with the other Thundercats saving the world. The same thing we could talk about G.I. Joe. A real American hero G.I. Joe is there!
When we hear these expressions and we use expressions, they say that you should not use trite expressions. I agree with that but I also think that you should use expressions that are emotionally charged for people and in a way that they respond to. It’s being able to reach in there and to make connections with them that nobody else would know except for a real insider. That develops rapport. They see, “Oh my goodness, this person’s like me and they connect with me.”
Remember the number one connectivity tissue is similarity. Right? That’s the number one connectivity tissue. Using their language, the intonations, similar expressions, these things show similarities. Now, let’s try to invoke some of these other things.
Number four in my suggested list here is very intimate personal stories. Beau Eason, one of my mentors in terms of speaking, and presenting, and talking, and story-telling, repeatedly teaches that the more intimate and personal a story is, the more universal it becomes. Why? Because when we tell intimate personal stories we open ourselves. We become vulnerable and it allows other people to open themselves and become vulnerable. When they do that, they start to impose themselves onto your story. When we tell stories about love, and heartache, and heartbreak, then it allows other people to open up their hearts and remember and experience their love and their heartache, and their heartbreak, or their romance, or whatever it is.
When we tell stories of rags-to-riches, of financial defeat and struggle, then people impose themselves on that story and they set their own experiences on top of yours, and they relive it together. In doing so, they find that you’ve fulfilled this emotional need inside of them to feel unique. They saw that you were able to go through this and survive and it made you somebody more special. A little bit more courageous. A little bit more tender. A little bit more insightful. A little bit more wise. A little bit more whatever it was. They say, “Oh! If Joshua did that, then I want to be like that.” You can tell stories in your copy.
Now, here’s an amazing thing. One of the things that I love doing is I love interviewing founders of companies. The reason is because I like to get their story. I mean their real story, like, really what happened. Then tell that to their audience. A lot of times the founders, these owners, these business people, number one, they don’t know how to tell their story. Number two, they’re nervous about doing it, but when you’re doing it for them they seem to be okay with it. In doing that you create this amazing connectivity tissue with their audiences for the reasons we’ve stated. Okay? Telling very personal, very intimate stories is a great way to develop rapport.
The last one, heroes. Here’s what I mean by heroes. Think about for a moment. Why is it that the Harry Potter series is so crazy-popular? Why is that? Well, there’s a lot of great reasons. One is it’s a story very, very well told but maybe underneath that, is that it’s an orphan underdog kind of a story. Right? Harry’s an orphan and all of us sort of have this orphan child. We’ve all been hurt in relationships we all want to rise above that. Again, that feeling of wanting to be loved, wanting to be important, and wanting to be unique. It’s the most universal set of feelings that all of us have. It’s why we love super heroes. It’s why we love the Harry Potters of the world. It’s why we love going on journeys with The Hobbit through Middle-Earth. Doing all these things. It’s this thing that appeals to us: the underdog who becomes the hero. The hero’s journey. All of those kinds of things.
The most important part about this is it has to be a relatable hero. That’s why the underdog, orphan, cast-out, cast-aside hero is the best hero. The most unlikely hero. It allows you and your reader to step into this role and you can relate to them. All of us can feel like we’re either as good as or slightly better than a bumbling hobbit right? Then we start on that journey with him and it’s if he can do it and become the hero then we can too, so we create connection and we create connectivity. You tell these stories of heroes and you build out a hero, and you do it in such a way that the reader can impose themselves on that. Similar to the personal stories but the personal stories don’t necessarily have to have a hero’s journey involved, but you can do a story with hero action involved in them. Okay?
These things that you do, they allow you to invoke imagination. As you’re telling the hero’s journey, as you’re walking through the personal stories, as you’re using their language and talking about similar emotional triggers, etc. it invokes the imagination and they see it in their mind. They feel it in their heart and they experience it in real-time. That allows them to connect with you and to create rapport. When it comes time for you to make the request and to ask for them to comply with that request, then they’re predisposed to do it and they’ll be excited to do it. They’ll want to do it! Like, what’s that in “My Fair Lady”? Where the guy says, “I’m wanting to do it! I’m willing to do it! I’m waiting to do it!” He’s excited about doing this. What you see here is you want to get rapport so you can create compliance. Okay?
These are some ways that you can do that that we’ve talked about. My suggestion for you is to choose one of these things. Think about a writing assignment that you have, whether it’s to build out your own information packet, your own website content, your own blog, or that for a client or whatever. Think about these five things, pick one of these techniques and then put it to use. Right? Tell a story. Think about the audience you’re talking to and really dive into their language. Not just their words but their language. Intonate stuff. Break things up. Charge it up with underlines and bolds and make it come alive in the mind of the reader. Tell things that are deeply personal. I mean, pick one of these things and implement it and see if your readers don’t feel so much more connected to you through that experience. I think you’ll find that it makes an amazing, huge difference.
Okay. Thanks for listening. We’ll talk to you later.