Beyond Words

The science and fun of nonverbal communication

CPR: Charisma, Professionalism & Rapport

CPR: Charisma, Professionalism and Rapport can help everyone.

For those of you that joined me (okay, it's for those who didn't either), here's a quick recap of the talk I gave at Robina Hospital in the Bond University Education and Research Centre (read about the event here). CPR is a an acronym that can help physicians during their interactions with patients as well as other people in roles where they are assisting or even simply interacting with other people.  

CPR represents Charisma, Professionalism, and Rapport.  Although the talk was presented for primarily for physicians, as you will read below, being aware of CPR and trying to utilize it will help in many situations, both professionally and in your social life Our actions and words have ability to guide the direction of an interaction.  Understanding this emotional contagion effect (our actions and words 'spread' and 'affect' the people) gives each of you the opportunity to have greater control over your own actions and the the way people respond to you.

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Charisma: Possessing charisma means you have the ability to attract, motivate, and influence others.  You can think you possess charisma all you want but it is something others determine if you possess (or not).  Charisma includes being sensitive, expressive, and control in regards to your words and actions.  Olivia Fox Cabane describes three types of charisma- power, presence and warmth.  

I highly recommend her book that will be released later this month (here) that not only explains charisma, but also give practical examples on how to develop it. Here's a tip- many elements of charisma involves nonverbal communication. 

Professionalism: As charismatic you might be, or be brilliant at building rapport and developing trust, without professionalism you will end up missing an important link that will have people saying "yes, he is very nice and friendly, but he doesn't know what he is talking about."  This is not good!  Professionalism includes being prepared, having confidence in yourself, and being experienced and an expertise in the topic you are talking about.  Also, do not forget professionalism includes dressing properly for the occasion.

Rapport: Rapport is developed by both people during an interaction however as an individual, you can take efforts to contribute to it being created.  Rapport includes mutual attentiveness, coordination, and positivity.  Many elements of rapport are nonverbal cues and elements.  Eye contact (not too much or too little); open-handed gestures, smiling, and direct body posture are few.  Also, do not forget the environment- where you are interacting with the person and the layout of the room are important.  

Volunteers during the workshop at Robina Hospital
Consider, for example, depending on where you each sit and the affect it can have (adjacent or across from one another) and the location (in an office, conference room or in a cafe).  Read more on rapport from a previous workshop I gave (here).

Finally, do not forget, each element of CPR is interconnected- being effective (or ineffective) at one will effect the others.  For those that joined me last week, I hope you enjoyed it.  I looked forward to staying in touch and as always, comments and questions are welcome.  Don't forget to follow me on twitter too: @NonverbalPhD.

Jeff Thompson is a Ph.D. candidate researching nonverbal communication and mediation at Griffith University Law School.

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