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15 Effective Rapport-building Questions for Work

Why it's important to build rapport at work. Plus, 15 rapport-building questions for building trust and strengthening working relationships.

Building rapport at work is extremely important. Even so, many people fail to put an emphasis on building rapport when in reality, it can be quite easy. Strengthening working relationships comes down to crafting thoughtful rapport-building questions. After you’ve determined your questions, it’s time to have great conversations! Don’t forget to actively listen and take note of responses. 

Why is it important to build rapport at work?

Building rapport in the workplace is important for a variety of reasons. It helps in building trust, strengthening relationships, and enforcing teamwork. Colleagues who have a positive rapport with each other are more inclined to teach, learn, and collaborate. Teammates with this type of working relationship are more inclined to accept each other’s ideas, share information, and create opportunities. 

Build effective rapport

Build rapport with your team by hosting regular one-on-ones and team meetings with collaborative meeting agendas. Try a tool like Fellow today!

15 effective rapport-building questions

1How do you feel today? 

This is one of the simplest, yet most effective questions you can ask a colleague. Not only does it demonstrate that you care, but it also makes it possible for the both of you to unplug and step away from work. This question will take you and your colleague out of the confines of work so you can focus on strengthening your bond. 

2What tasks energize you? 

Nothing is more empowering in the workplace than having the opportunity to work on something that energizes you. Oftentimes we don’t take the time to identify our energy suckers. We move forward with our day to day and fail to hone in on what inspires us. Taking the time to identify what energizes your colleagues can be extremely gratifying for all parties. 

3What is your ideal outcome? 

This rapport-building question helps to move the conversation in a positive direction. Instead of focusing on negative factors, it helps to reshape the conversation to be solution oriented. You and your colleague can now move forward and focus on building solutions as opposed to dwelling on negativity. 

4What tasks suck your energy? 

Similar to the way in which it’s important to identify what energizes you, it’s also important to determine what sucks your energy. Asking this question is a great opportunity to demonstrate that you value your colleagues time and genuinely care that they thrive in their role. 

5What is your ideal career trajectory? 

Building rapport is all about strengthening relationships. As a manager or leader within your organization, it’s important that you support those whom you manage indefinitely—even if they move on from your team or organization. Taking the time to learn about their aspirations so you can support them in their endeavors is a great way to build rapport. 

6What can I do to make your day better? 

This question is simple, yet effective. This short and sweet question is an easy tactic you can use to build rapport, and you might even improve someone’s day just by offering to help. 

7How do you like to de-stress and unwind? 

Sometimes building rapport goes beyond the office. Oftentimes people fail to bond over their personal lives and focus only on work, and can be a huge missed opportunity. Taking the time to get to know someone outside of work shows that you’re interested in them as a person, not just as an employee. 

8What do you enjoy doing outside of work? 

As stated above, it’s important to get to know your colleagues outside of work. These questions may be able to help you understand them on a deeper level. If you get to know more about their personal lives, you may be able to unlock what inspires or drives them. This information will ultimately be able to help you lead them in a way that aligns with their goals and values. 

9What tasks do you enjoy working on most?

Similar to the way in which it’s important to identify what inspires your teammates, it’s equally as important to talk about what they enjoy working on most. There may be tasks that drain their energy and tasks that inspire them. Having a conversation about what tasks they enjoy most is a great way to open up the floor and give them the opportunity to talk about something that excites them. Engaging in a positive conversation is a great way to build rapport. 

10What is a positive outcome you could see from that? 

It can be easy to get sucked into a negative spiral. And while in that negative mindset, it can be even harder to build rapport. Shaping the conversation in a way that dials in on positivity will ensure your conversation is lighter and more enjoyable.  

11How do you prefer to provide and receive feedback? 

Both giving and receiving feedback can be daunting. Learning how your colleagues prefer to give and receive feedback is a great way to build rapport, and an even better way to foster open and honest conversations. 

12How does your current task compare to your last job? 

It’s important that rapport-building questions be crafted in a way that cultivates an open dialect. This question will open the floor so you and your colleagues can get to know each other on a deeper level. 

13What elements do you enjoy most in your current role?

Similar to identifying what inspires your colleagues, asking them what they currently enjoy most in their role is also a great rapport-building question. This question may be able to lead to a positive conversation where you can bond over what you both find most enjoyable. 

14What are three things that are blocking you right now?

This question is a great way to demonstrate empathy. Sometimes work can be a lonely place and all it takes to brighten someone’s day is an ally. Demonstrating your allyship with your colleagues will help you build trust and rapport. 

15Is there anything I can do to make your job easier for you? 

This rapport-building question helps demonstrate empathy, understanding, and friendliness—all of which are essential for building rapport. This question also demonstrates that you’re receptive to feedback, thus meaning you’re eager to strengthen your working relationship. 

Tips for asking effective rapport-building questions 

1Actively listen to their reply 

Practicing active listening is extremely important. Being an active listener can help build trust, strengthen relationships, and help cultivate effective communication processes that will aid in building rapport. If you don’t practice active listening, you’ll have a hard time building rapport with your colleagues. Actively listening when your colleague responds to your rapport-building questions shows you are empathetic and respect them.

2Show genuine interest in their answers 

If you don’t show genuine interest in your colleague’s answers, it will be extremely difficult to build rapport. In addition to practicing active listening, you’ll also need to make a point of demonstrating real, genuine interest. You can do this by making note of their answers in your meeting agenda, responding to their answers with meaningful follow-up questions, and following up at a later date. 

Jotting down notes in your meeting agenda will ensure you don’t forget any key insights from your conversation. It’s important to take thorough notes that you can reflect and act upon. Jotting them down in your meeting agenda will make them easily accessible so you can reflect on them down the road.  

Team Meeting Agenda Items

3Use a comfortable tone

Many people fail to notice the power their tone holds. If your tone is demeaning or aggressive, your colleagues won’t feel inclined to participate in the conversation. However, if you’re welcoming and make a point of being kind, your teammates will be more apt to participate in conversations that help build rapport. Speaking in a comfortable tone will set the mood. You can’t expect to strengthen your working relationships if you aren’t exuding kindness or cultivating inclusivity through your tone. 

Rapport-building questions are key in strengthening working relationships

Narrowing down excellent rapport-building questions can be challenging. Luckily, you now have 15 rapport-building questions under your belt and know the reasons they work. You’re all set to start building trust and exuding empathy. 

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Hannah Ross

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