How to build rapport virtually

Establishing empathy and rapport is very much to do with building trust with the person you’re talking with. And that’s true whether you’re chatting face to face or over a Zoom video call.  

But even though remote communications may have their limitations, establishing rapport needn’t be one of them. You don’t have to meet someone face-to-face or shake their hand to have a great and trusting working relationship.

But to get it right you would be wise to follow some tried and tested methods to ensure the best outcome in your virtual meetings going forward. 

When most of your communications happen virtually a strong sense of connection is key to building and sustaining rapport.

So here are some top tips to build virtual empathy and rapport in any meeting:

Proactively build interpersonal trust

Be personable and curious about others. Ask questions. Be interested. Don’t limit your topics to business, share the person you are outside of work. Think holistically about people.

Communicate predictably

Be reliable, turn up ‘virtually’ when you say you’re going to, deliver what you’ve said you will, maybe more, and when you said you will. Be consistent and you will be seen as reliable and trustworthy. Be open and honest and people will warm to you and trust you.

Leverage other communication channels

Exploring the use of phone, social media, email or a letter outside of your video calls can help to boost connection and understanding and develop strong relationships with people. 

Pace yourself

This is an investment. Be selective about who you want to get to know better, and take a long-term approach in building your relationships with these people. Empathy and trust takes time to get established. Rushing things can risk breaking that trust in a heartbeat.

Making more than a real effort to stay in touch, communicate openly and consistently and in a friendly, human way will go a long way to help you build sustainable empathy and rapport in any situation.


Our virtual behaviour change programmes might just help! You can view the full programmes below or get in touch for an informal chat or if you have something specific in mind.