The Art of Conversing Eloquently

Monica Or, columnist and Hospitality Consultant at Star Quality Hospitality Consultancy discusses how building rapport aids communication..

Rapport is all about highlighting common interests and establishing a mutual feeling of friendliness. When you meet your guest for the first time, you need to connect with your guest and form a bond. There are several ways in which you can do this, through your body language, through making conversation and through the words you use.

Through your Body Language:
Unconsciously your body language will determine how well you are getting on with the person you are communicating with. Have you ever noticed that when two people are in deep conversation they match each other’s body language. They may both be smiling, looking at one another, have their hands in the same position and generally looking relaxed. This is known as matching and mirroring.

Making eye contact is also key. They say that the eyes are the windows of your soul and it is important that when receiving your guest you look at them. Not only is this polite, and shows open communication, but it will also give you an opportunity to notice any distinguishing features about your guest. These could be things to note for future reference. The eyes are also the easiest way to read people’s emotional state.

Through Making Conversation:
The onus is on you, and your staff to initiate conversation with your guests. You should greet your guest with a courteous “Good Morning or Good Afternoon” to start the conversation. To take this conversation further though, you need to ask questions. There is an art in how to do this eloquently. That is by using the funnel approach with a mixture of open and closed questions.

Through the Words you Use:
People take in information in through their five senses – seeing (visual), hearing (auditory), feeling (kinaesthetic), smelling (olfactory) and tasting (gustatory). Most people tend to rely more on one or two of these senses and often the language they use will give us clues as to their preferred communication method.

Below are examples of how these communication methods may be used through the use of words:
‘I can picture what the room looks like’ – Visual
‘I can hear what you are saying’- Hearing
‘I have got a good gut feeling about this’ – Kinaesthetic
‘I can already enjoy the sweet smell of your success’ – Olfactory
‘That leaves a bitter taste in my mouth’ – Gustatory

When building rapport you can literally speak the same language as your guest. People like people who are like them, so by using the same language preference as your guest, you will build rapport with them much quicker.

Putting this into practice:
When was the last you naturally made a strong connection with a stranger, and it felt like you had been lifelong friends? The only way to converse eloquently and build rapport quickly is to practice it. For more information on how to use these techniques, examples and exercises are available in my ‘Star Quality Experience’ book which is also available as an online course.

About Monica Or: Working with the owner/managers of independent hotels and restaurants, Monica assists her clients with their operations and service delivery. She is the Amazon Best Selling author of her three books: ‘Star Quality Experience – The Hotelier’s Guide to Creating Memorable Guest Journeys’ and ‘Star Quality Talent – Inspiring Hospitality Careers’.
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