The Behavioral Influence Stairway Model, which is an updated version of the model created by the FBI’s Crisis Negotiation Unit, offers a great guide for establishing relationships online (and offline, too).
It illustrates how active listening can help move you through the three stages of relationship building: empathy, rapport, and influence…
Ironically, the first sign that you are succeeding in your quest to use active listening to build a relationship is the emergence of empathy on your part.
That’s right, the first step towards a relationship comes from you. Since you’re the one pursuing a relationship, it’s your job to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
Empathy is the foundation for all relationships, especially new ones. Social media imposes some barriers to establishing it, since you don’t always see or hear the other person. When that’s the case, more has to be inferred from bios, past posts, etc., so do your homework.
Because empathy is what drives effective communication, connection, and change.
This is a great time to start offering help or advice for problems that you have learned about from your active listening.