3C's of Rapport-based Communication

The purpose of the 3C’s is to provide practitioners with a clear practice for creating rapport that is based on Rosenthal’s three ingredients. By knowing the three ingredients and the 3C’s we can intentionally work for better rapport and offer more experiences of connection, communication and empathy to people who are at risk of social isolation.

The first C is to look for OFFERS. In the context of inclusive interaction, an OFFER is now anything that a person does unprompted that has the potential to be reciprocated by the practitioner through joining in or copying or reflecting. Looking for OFFERS requires mindful attention, the first ingredient of rapport.

The second C is to copy the OFFERS. The practitioner now joins in with the person, reciprocating their actions and behaviour. When copying the persons actions, the practitioner and the person are in synchrony, the second ingredient of rapport.  When the practitioner copies a person’s actions they are making an affirmation, non-verbally saying “Yes, this is a good thing to do”.

The third C is to celebrate the OFFERS. The practitioner makes sure to join in and reciprocate warmly, responding like there is nothing that they would rather be doing, like the person has had the best idea ever. By reacting with pleasure to the person’s actions and behaviour, the person is also like to feel happy and this results in a shared positive feeling, the third ingredient of rapport.

Interestingly, in their 1990 paper, Rosenthal and Tickle-Degnan also study the effect of various non-verbal behaviours upon rapport, concluding that postural mirroring is the most effective strategy in interactions in which one person is helping the other (eg teacher/student, nurse/patient).

The essence of this practice therefore is to create rapport and develop relationship by warmly joining in with what the person is doing with 100% of your attention.


Tickle-Degnen, L. and Rosenthal, R. (1990). The Nature of Rapport and Its Nonverbal Correlates. Psychological Inquiry, 1(4), pp.285-293.