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Steve Robson

Marine Industry

Learning and Development Consultant

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Lost in translation


Hardly anyone outside of the UK and France use the word "rapport" and have no idea what it means, or have an equivalent.

I have more trouble with this word than any other...any more examples?

3 Responses

  1. What do you mean by ‘trouble’, Steve?

    Delegates not understanding it? How to explain it?

    The definition I used in Face to Face in the Workplace is "Getting on the same wavelength as someone else, so that they are comfortable around you and willing to carry on talking to you". I guess that the concept of wavelength could get lost in translation too, but something around making others comfortable talking to you should work.

    Other examples? A few times I've been asked about congruence – people seem to forget what it means, but then it's not an everyday word.

    The most talked about one is flipping Coaching – so many views and approaches! (and misunderstandings – I had a delegate say last week that he wouldn't want a coach because they only tell you what to do!)

  2. Que?

    Hi Jules

    Yes "coach" is also troublesome. Even when you get past it being a form of transport.

    With "rapport" the nearest translation is usually "relationship"  which doesn't really begin to describe where I'm going with it. Mostly they think it means report!

    "What's in it for me" is another one that doesn't travel well.



  3. Rapport

    I heard a great definition:

    Stepping into someone else's shoes, metaphorically speaking, so that one might see the world from the another's perspective.

    I had a great experience of this when tasked with getting a bunch of client relationship managers to 'deliver' training professionally. I couldn't truly understand the roadblocks they faced and what appeared to me at the time 'excuses' to doing the job differently, until I too became a client relationship manager. where once I was blind, I could suddenly see! It was a great life lesson!

    Best regards,


Author Profile Picture
Steve Robson

Learning and Development Consultant

Read more from Steve Robson

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