It is who you know.


I read an article the other day about discrimination. University researchers recently reviewed over 5 decades of published studies and surveys about discrimination. They found that many instances of discrimination are not rooted in exclusion based on difference but rather on favoritism based on similarity. In other words, discrimination happened more often to help someone in-group rather than to harm or exclude someone out-group.

Regardless, the decisions were sometimes based more on in-group status than on merit. Real instances of discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, age, and weight… certainly happen. That is a subject for another time. (However, if you want to check your own tendencies, here is an amazing way to test your own implicit biases).

We’re also not talking about sycophants, apple-polishers, ass kissers, and flatterers. That is insincere, opportunistic leverage that I would never advocate. Let’s talk about favoritism – opportunities or promotion based on similarity or mutual interest. No, it’s not always fair, but it is life. It will continue to happen because people prefer to do business with people that they know, like, and trust. We all do it and that’s OK. Why not take the steps to ensure that favoritism happens to you and not someone else? It is a competitive advantage.

You can cultivate it in respectful, genuine ways that will result in your ultimate benefit. It’s the art of being in-group – at least as much as possible – in order to achieve your objective. There are lots of ways to give the impression that you are in-group. You may have a friend/acquaintance/relative who can give you a reference or vouch for you. You may have someone who owes you a favor and will give you an advantage just to “call it even”. The most reliable way is to establish rapport.

Rapport matters because your network matters.

Your network matters because your career (and life!) matters!

The feeling and perception of similarity can easily be built on rapport. Rapport is based on both real and perceived similarity – from height, weight, and ethnicity to hobbies, fashion, and musical tastes. It can level the playing field for those without a direct referral and it can help you to get a good referral (because it is who you know, right?). Faced with two equally qualified individuals, any interviewer would have a tough time deciding between someone with a referral and someone who gets really great rapport (who already feels like part of the team – who will fit right in).

Here’s an example…

I recently ran into a friend who is a newly minted PhD looking for work. She is beautiful, young, very smart, and enthusiastic. Why hasn’t a company snapped her up? She went straight through school in a challenging curriculum and lacks the desired industry experience. It seems that when you lack experience you must compensate for it with contacts at the company or good referrals. This is happens in all fields. That’s why it’s so important to know how to establish rapport and build a network. In this case, my friend is actively cultivating contacts in every way possible. She is now reaching out to people on social media and interacting regularly with her network. She’s taking advantage of opportunities to present at conferences. She knows where the magic is! It’s in…


Networking and being social will give you plenty of opportunities to build rapport and cultivate relationships that can help you achieve your goals. Those relationships will get you in the door, get you the gig, or get you promoted. I like you because you are like me. Children are taught to look for differences and to understand the importance of similarities. Here is one particularly creepy illustration from an early Sesame Street episode. That propensity continues into adulthood. People look for ways to distinguish themselves from one another. They look for ways to differentiate themselves. At the same time, they are detecting how you are different from them. Know that this tendency is at work in most people, even as you endeavor to highlight similarities and establish rapport. Maybe this is old wiring from the cavemen days – a survival tactic.

Rapport is easy to establish…if you know how.

I have been teaching rapport skills for well over a decade – to engineers, lawyers, and mediators. One thing remains constant: most people overestimate their ability to establish good rapport. Even I do, sometimes. There are many ways to emphasize similarities, like language, presence, lifestyle, physical traits, and actions. Two of the most subtle and reliable ways to establish rapport are to be likable and to practice Unconditional Positive Regard.

Be Likeable

Being likeable encompasses rapport skills, a regard for etiquette, genuine interest, authenticity, listening skills, and charisma. It can be developed over time so that it comes naturally. Anyone can learn how to be likeable in social situations. Learn is the key word here. Most people don’t come by it naturally and everyone can improve their social skills through learning. Like any powerful life skill, social skills must be practiced. One of the easiest and fastest ways to be likeable is to prepare ahead of time to look for and (silently) appreciate something about the other person. It will come across in your demeanor. Everybody has something in his or her personality that can be appreciated or respected. Add active listening to that and you’re off to a great start. This is old school and you will find it in the writings of the likes of Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill – pioneers of the personal development movement. Dale Carnegie wrote an entire book about this, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Napoleon Hill called it “developing a pleasing personality.” Dr. Robert Cialdini has some great examples of the science behind likeability in his book, “Influence.” Read more about it here.

Practice Unconditional Positive Regard

Unconditional Positive Regard is a technique developed by the late humanist and therapist, Carl Rogers. He believed that people in therapy could more easily express themselves when the therapist approached them with no preconceptions or judgement. Practicing Unconditional Positive Regard is truly a mind exercise that involves accepting people unconditionally, without prejudice or judgment. People can sense when you are accepting and non-judgmental. It offers them a flattering mirror image of themselves. It offers immediate, favorable feedback. How cool is that? Is it easy? Hell no! It takes effort to train your mind away from snap judgments and preconceived ideas about people and their motives. If you can do it, however, you will be richly rewarded. Read more about it here. If you want to explore rapport some more, one of my favorite books on the subject is “The Magic of Rapport” by Jerry Richardson. It lays out rapport in an easy to read way with examples. It is a how-to book for rapport that I refer to on a regular basis. I highly recommend it and look forward to discussing it with you. Get out there and network! Nancy


Upcoming events!

Special teleseminar!

June 8th at 7pm CST (8pm EST)

Join us and learn how to use Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). We’ll discuss the basic “how to” and then explore ways to use EFT to alleviate test anxiety and to perform better on the bar exam.

Mama Mocha’s Coffee Roastery

Thursday, June 12th 6pm – 8pm

In Auburn? Come learn about using Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) at Mama Mocha’s.

This is a casual, evening event in an intimate setting. We’ll be talking about using EFT for creativity and enhanced imagination.

Mercer School of Law

Wednesday, June 11th at 12:00pm – 1:00pm 

Join me and learn how to improve your performance on the bar exam!


Dear Friends,

This has indeed been an exciting year! Beyond Rainmaking is now available in paperback on Amazon and many other booksellers. You can buy the book here. The Kindle version will be available in about a month. You can look at the site and sign up for updates here. Also, I have a new author page as well – that’s where you can get the big picture and keep up with my projects as they develop. 9780983727675-Perfect.indd

About The Book…

New to Beyond Rainmaking? It is the result of a lot of research and one blog post. My target market came to me in response to an article that I wrote about one of the accelerated learning techniques that I use to keep up with massive amounts of information. As soon as the article was posted, I received a barrage of emails from law students and bar examinees. After weeks of answering each and every email, I decided to answer them with a book – Beyond Rainmaking. As you know by now, I am constantly learning new things and finding innovative combinations and applications for new techniques. While I have applied this information to to negotiation, it is as powerful for learning as it is for negotiation preparation. There is currently no other place to learn this unique and powerful combination of skills all in one place.

Who needs this book?

Law Students Only a 67% pass rate for the bar exam Everybody wants to pass the bar exam on the first try, but roughly 30,000 people fail the bar exam every year, at great expense. My information can keep people out of this statistic. This is my market – people who have been there and want to pass the second time and people who want to pass the first time. Most people who fail the exam will retake it, at great expense. If they have secured employment prior to taking the exam, they risk losing it if they fail. If they have not secured employment, failing the bar exam tacks on at least three months before they can resume their job search. 55,000 lawyers competing for 22,000 jobs means added incentive to do whatever it takes to find and keep a job. Law school graduating class employment rates are at an 18-year low and competition is very tight. Less than 66% of the 2011 law graduates found full-time work in the legal field. Law students make a serious monetary commitment when they to go to law school. If they fail or drop out, they are stuck with the loans anyway – with no degree. Even if they only go for one semester, they will owe $8,000 – $28,000. Believe me, they want it to work out. Their parents want it to work out. The school administration and alumni association wants it to work out! If they make it through law school, the average law student will owe about $50,000.00 – $175,000.00. It is not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Further, those loans come due almost immediately. Add to that the cost of re-taking the bar exam, including review courses, fees, travel, and time not working, and it really adds up. As employment rates continue to decline, people entering or considering entering the legal field are looking for any advantage they can find to rise to the top of the ranks so that they can get a good job. Beyond Rainmaking is the advantage that law students and bar examinees are actively seeking!  Law Firms Law firms are beginning to demand fluency in information management skills because lack of expertise in this can leave the law firms exposed to greater risk of malpractice and ethics actions by unsatisfied clients. Information management is an area of law practice professionalism that has begun to receive more attention from the legal community because lack of skill in these areas greatly increase an attorney’s chances of being sued for malpractice. The demand for training in these areas has already begun to increase. Malpractice insurers are now focusing more attention on these skills. Bar associations worldwide are seeking ways to encourage training in these areas at both the law school level and in the early years of law practice. Through Beyond Rainmaking provides law students and young lawyers with powerful, essential practice skills that will enable them to learn more, faster, and recall information more accurately. With the job market like it is, law students and young lawyers need these skills to survive – to get the job they want and to keep the job that they have. If you or someone you know is planning on taking the bar exam in the near future, get them a copy of this book!! To Your Success, Nancy


New Book On The Way

Dear Readers, I am just putting the final touches on the book. I can’t wait to unveil it! If you don’t already know, I have been working on a book about accelerated learning techniques that enable you to take in more information, faster and better than you ever have before. Anyone who negotiates knows that […]

Read the full article →

The Pitfalls of Nonverbal Rapport – Pt. 3

Creating An Unwanted Attachment. This is another way you can get in trouble with nonverbal rapport…. Have you ever met someone and wanted to get to know them better? You actively sought to establish rapport, only to find out that the person was not what they seemed – and they would not leave you alone. […]

Read the full article →

The Pitfalls of Nonverbal Rapport – Pt. 2

Mirroring, by mimicking physical posture and movements, is one of many ways to create nonverbal rapport. It is an effective and powerful tool but there are a few pitfalls waiting for the untrained user. Here is an example of a pitfall you can make while mirroring another person and how to avoid it. When you […]

Read the full article →

The Pitfalls of Nonverbal Rapport – Pt.1

The Pitfalls of Nonverbal Rapport – Pt. 1 Who hasn’t heard about the magical power of achieving good nonverbal rapport? Nonverbal communication constitutes easily half or more of your communications to others. It can be achieved many ways – from tonality and physical likeness to ethnicity and common hobbies to postural mirroring and even mimicking […]

Read the full article →

Social Status and Negotiation

Welcome Ninjas! Got class? Today I read an article about a scientific study showing that high social status makes people more trusting. It brought to mind several other resources I had seen on status and authority – so I went digging. It turns out that there are more than a few ways that high social […]

Read the full article →

7 Tips For Passing The Bar Exam

Hello Friends! It has been a very busy month here at Negotiation Ninja! July has been full of finalizing book edits and getting the citations done. We are almost ready to go to print, and I am very excited about it. Over the last two weeks I have been traveling. I went to Austin to […]

Read the full article →

Control: Power v. Choice

It’s been a great spring here at Negotiation Ninja and now Memorial Day is upon us.  Time with family and friends is always the perfect time to enhance your negotiation skills by practicing on people who will probably love you anyway. Here is a useful little tidbit to play with this holiday weekend… This information […]

Read the full article →

So You Got Accepted To Law School…

So you received your law school acceptance letter! Congratulations! Now what? It came in the mail and you are probably overjoyed, but it’s a little scary too, isn’t it? There has been a lot of talk in the news lately about the student loan debt you are about to accrue. Current statistics show that it […]

Read the full article →