22 Apr

Building Rapport With An Introvert

Client was difficult to try and relate to initially, with a very introverted personality. Perhaps better engaging techniques for probing information to try build rapport, or approaching super-shy personalities.


First of all, you should recognize that some students will be easier to develop a rapport with, others harder. These are just the facts of life. However, they may be some specific mitigating circumstances with a student that make the situation specifically challenging.

The student may be going through personal problems in their life. Perhaps the parents are going through a divorce, they are being bullied at school, a family member may be sick etc. To better gauge the situation you may wish to ask the parents in private.

  • Make sure you are not too intrusive, you can ask something along the lines of “I noticed Mary is a little reserved and although it always takes time to develop a rapport with new students, she seems a little more disengaged than I am accustomed to – is there anything going on outside of tutoring that may be causing her to be a little reserved?”
  • This is also a good opportunity to ask the parents if there are any ideas for tailoring the tuition specifically for the student – to help engage them. What do they like, what are their interests, what subjects do they prefer Etc.

When you first start with a student try to get them on side and develop a sense of co-operation so they know you are there to help them. Ask them about what they want out of the tutoring? Are they keen on the tutoring or are their parents pushing the idea? Either way you are there to help them so make sure they know this and that you are willing to take their suggestions seriously – even ideas about homework and workload. Once a student realises that they have a say in how you tutor them and that they can actually derive benefit from you on their own terms they will open up to tutoring.

On a more generic note, there are a variety of general concepts around rapport building. There is a good post about this here https://ezymathtutoring.com.au/building-rapport-in-tutoring/

Of course, there is also the chance that you are just not the best tutor for this student although this is quite unlikely and you couldn’t accurately determine this from just 1-2 meetings.


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