Creating a strong community requires engagement and connection. One way I engage and connect with people is by teaching prospecting skills.

Prospecting all starts with creating meaningful conversations that lead to real connections. But how do we create meaningful conversations?

As the saying goes, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. People will listen to you once you take the time to show interest in them. This is what engagement and connection is about. 

I connect with people by teaching them how to be magnetic in their prospecting skills—something they can practice as they go about their day-to-day life meeting people. It’s a fun, easy way to prospect they can fit into their lifestyle.

My experience in building community has been to create an understanding that prospecting is a skill anyone can hone. When people realize this, they learn how to instantly build rapport, the essential ingredient for trust that leads to connection and strengthens community.

Building rapport puts people quickly at ease and creates a space for them to feel comfortable engaging in conversation. The reason building rapport is so critical is that everyone has a natural resistance to talking to “strangers.” It’s part of our evolutionary survival instinct. 

When you are out prospecting, you must be able to rapidly build rapport to soften that natural resistance. Even though you’ve just met and have only a few minutes, you can use that time to begin a relaxed, friendly conversation that opens the door to make a connection.

Here are four steps to instant rapport building that helps people connect and create community.

  1. Create a great first impression. As we all know, you don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. You can positively influence people by the way you hold your head, how you walk, and how you stand. These all relate to how you feel about yourself and your level of self-confidence.
  2. Pass the snap judgement test. This is nothing personal, just basic human psychology. According to Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy, people quickly answer two questions when they first meet you: Can I trust this person? Can I respect this person?
  3. Answer the Friend or Foe question. You don’t want to be a foe, right? People you meet are asking themselves, “How do I feel about this person?” They are checking in with themselves to see if they feel comfortable with you, so send out a friendly vibe.
  4. Crack open the door. With your facial expression, body language, and words, use the 30 seconds you have to create a comfortable space for engagement.

Applying these four steps will help you build prospecting confidence and have a lot more fun growing your business. When your focus is on engagement and connection, you naturally and easily lay the foundation for building a strong community.

JULIE HENDERSON is a speaker, author, and coach who loves to help business owners master the art of prospecting, see EverydayProspecting.com.