build rapport at work

Forming genuine relationships: The art of building rapport at work

How well do you get along with those you work with? Is this something you would like to improve? Rapport is all about building positive, meaningful relationships with others.


In work life, rapport helps develop vital skills such as communication and teamwork. It also helps reduce conflict. It can also make your work more enjoyable, increasing your job satisfaction. But how do you build rapport? 

Indeed and Seek provide tips on how to build rapport.

When is a good time to build rapport?

Of course, you can build rapport by interacting with colleagues in the workplace. However, there are also other ways to build rapport. Networking events provide the perfect opportunity to meet new people.

A job interview also provides a great opportunity to build rapport with your interviewer.

How to build rapport

Make a good first impression

When you first meet someone, introduce yourself clearly and confidently. To make yourself memorable, include an interesting fact about yourself.

Practice active listening

When someone is speaking to you, give them your full attention. Try to minimise distractions and avoid multi-tasking.  Maintain eye contact and use your body language to indicate you are listening to what they are saying.

Be friendly

Always treat others with respect. Offer to help them when you can. For example, hold doors open for them or offer to assist if they are struggling with a task at work.

Ask open-ended questions

Asking open-ended questions in conversations encourages others to open up, rather than simply providing one-word answers. Doing so will help enhance the flow of conversation.

Be genuine and authentic

Build relationships that are genuine, not just about getting something out of a person. Try to be your authentic self whenever possible. People appreciate those who stay true to themselves. When you are genuine, people are more likely to trust you and will feel more comfortable opening up to you.

Use positive body language

Be welcoming, smile and use eye contact. This will make the other person feel as comfortable as possible. 

Discover common interests

Having something in common with another person can help build a connection. It’s OK to ask colleagues questions unrelated to the workplace. Consider asking them questions about their personal lives when appropriate. Do they have any hobbies? Which sports teams do they follow? Of course, ensure you initiate these discussions at the right time, not when you are rushing to meet an important deadline.

Show empathy

It is essential to see the world from others point of view. By being empathetic to others, you can help build positive relationships.

Speak equally

Ensure you are part of and contribute to conversations. However, try not to dominate conversations and make sure others are part of them as well. 

Remember details

Try to remember people’s names and job titles. If a colleague has told you about a hobby or interest of theirs, ask them about it another time.

It’s OK if you struggle

Remember, building rapport isn’t always easy and takes time and effort. Some people will be easier to build a relationship with than others. You will always be closer to some colleagues than others, and that’s OK.

Forming genuine relationships

Are you looking for a new job?

Public Service Resumes is pleased to offer various services, including interview skills coaching and key selection criteria writing.