In this project management tutorial Angela shares tips on building rapport with the person being interviewed for the requirements elicitation, why rapport is important, and the different types and examples of rapport.
- I want to run two scenarios by you. One, you walk into a job interview and feel intimidated and full of anxiety, or two, you walk into a job interview and feel at ease, like you're talking to a new friend. Is this just luck and chemistry? Or is there skill and strategy involved? What techniques does an interviewer use to make you feel at ease? It's the great feeling of mutual engagement and interest that creates a great connection and can take a conversation and relationship to new levels.
But it's not all magic and chemistry. You can take intentional steps to create this type of connection. Connecting and building rapport on one or many levels will give you a leg-up on this chemistry and help you establish a trusting relationship. I want to provide some insight into what skills and techniques can greatly increase the likelihood of great connection and rapport when interviewing to elicit requirements. Researching the person can give us clues to building rapport.
Understanding just a few things about their professional and personal background, as well as their history with the project, can give you insight to the mindset they may be coming into the meeting with. Let's look at building rapport in terms of professional rapport, personal rapport, and project rapport. Building professional rapport is connecting with them about your careers. Maybe you've worked on similar areas previously or maybe your last project impacted their area.
You want to show that you understand and can empathize with their position and role. Your research may show some of these connections. Building personal rapport is connecting with them through personal interests outside of work. It could be having children the same age, or maybe growing up in the same area. Perhaps knowing someone in common, or sharing a hobby or news story of interest. Project rapport is about shared excitement for what the project will achieve. You can connect with someone by mentioning a project meeting you both attended and can dig deeper with that connection.
No matter what connection you establish, sometimes the interviewee may not be excited about the project. Being aware of this is important to your overall rapport with them. How will you react if they are not really excited about the project or seem not to understand what the project is about? How will you establish or recover the rapport if this happens? My advice is to react with empathy and compassion and not rush your agenda. Be sensitive as you build this critical relationship.
Sometimes, this extra time and focus on the interviewee, rather than your agenda, may seem like slowing things down, but it will save you time in the end. As a way to practice, take a look at the sample interview video and evaluate what type of rapport I built with John. Our stakeholders require a trusting relationship with us in evolving their businesses, products, and operations. Building professional, personal, and project rapport is an essential part of eliciting requirements.
Lynda.com is a PMI Registered Education Provider. This course qualifies for professional development units (PDUs). To view the activity and PDU details for this course, click here.
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- Choosing to use interviews
- Selecting the right person to interview
- Planning interview questions
- Building rapport in an interview
- Choosing probing questions
- Listening and taking notes
- Analyzing and reviewing notes before following up