It's not something that is ever really taught when we are training to teach, which I think is a crying shame... but don't worry, Teachers Resource Force is coming to the rescue! Sometimes this can come naturally to people, but if you're one of those who may need a hand with it, relax, it is a science and can be taught!
But thankfully, a conversation is not the only way to find commonalities. In fact, it's not even the most effective way, believe it or not. Only 7% of communication is verbal, so by limiting our rapport building with words only, we are missing out on the other 93%!
As you may know, the highest form of communication comes through our body language and that makes up 55%. I think most veteran teachers have mastered "the look" for example...!
A bonus tip to remember is that:
people like people who are either like themselves or who they would like to be.
As teachers we have a significant advantage as we are effectively role models to our students, so by being the best person you can be, you can inspire students to be more like you and thus they will just adore you! :)