Why build rapport?
Building stronger rapport with your listeners reinforces trust. When your audience trusts you, they will listen better, believe you more, follow your advice and buy your message, product or service. In the absence of trust none of this will happen.
The better the rapport that you create the more they will like you. In selling there is an old piece of wisdom that says, "People buy from those they know and like." Every time you speak you are selling something even if you think that you are not in sales.
How can you build rapport?
Demonstrate that you are like them.
People like those who appear to be like them. Dress like them but no less then the best dressed person in the room. Speak the language that they understand. Don't use words that are intended to impress. Instead always use words that everyone in the audience understands. You can impress with the way you string those words together and know your topic. Learn and use some of the key phrases and terms that they use. For example, do they have customers, clients, patients, members, associates or worshippers?
Show that you understand them.
Don't pretend to be an expert on their world or industry if you are not from that world. But with a little research - online and through conversations - you can collect some knowledge and perspective about their circumstances. Recognize their issues, challenges and triumphs.
Include them in your presentation.
Meet at least some of them before your presentation. Gather some anecdotes and stories that you might use. Mention some of their names in your presentation. Include at least one story that highlights one of their heroes - (which could be one of them).
Speak in a conversational manner. Tell a story that makes fun of yourself. This might make them laugh and more importantly they will see you as imperfect - like themselves. Don't portray yourself as perfect because they will hate you for thinking that you are better than them. No one's perfect.
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Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives.