Woodruff and Colleagues

ncreasing Team Productivity

I worked at a Federal Medium Security Institution facilitating an Employability Skills program that would benefit the inmates when released.  There were 3 three-month sessions delivered to a set of 7 participants in this pilot project.  When I arrived, I was to meet with potential participants to evaluate their level of commitment.  Meetings had been arranged by a Corrections Canada employee.  I waited for inmates to show up for meetings but none of them did.  After wasting almost a full day waiting for no-shows I asked if I could see what was given to the inmates when inviting them to the meeting.  It was basically a piece of paper that read more like a command than an invitation.  I understood why these people weren’t showing up.  This is what you might call a group of tough clients, and I knew immediately that I had to build quick rapport to win their respect.  I requested, and was given permission, to create and deliver my own invitation.  The inmates began attending the meetings, and voluntarily opted into the program.  At the completion of the pilot, there were 8 inmates on a waiting list for the next session which would be facilitated by Corrections Canada employees.


Rapport enhances communication between parties, allowing people to feel they are understood and encouraging them to trust enough to open up.  Building rapport is a skill and, although it can be learned, there needs to be sincere non-judgement and a strong desire to both give and receive respect.  Conversation in a group setting with the inmates was often difficult as they weren’t comfortable sharing experiences.  One-on-one, however, had them share the information from their past that would allow them to identify skills and patterns that would be helpful in the future.  I find conversation with most people quite comfortable, but it was training in neurolinguistic programming (NLP) that honed my rapport-building skills.  This has led to the ability to quickly get to the root of why a client is in front of me and consequently provide them with what they need in a timely fashion.  I encourage you to practice building rapport when in conversation.


If you would like tips on how to quickly build rapport, click here.

The content in all blogs is the point of view of the blog author and is based on their experiences.  Readers have the option to disagree, and/or, disregard any information in any blog.

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