Superior Presentations 61: Build Rapport Rapidly

Build Rapport Rapidly


If you want to persuade people you first need to establish rapport. The sooner you build rapport with your audience, the sooner they will listen to your ideas. The stronger the rapport, the more they will like and trust you.

What is Rapport?

You have rapport with a person when you both see things the same way, which means they must believe that you understand them and see things their way.

If you want to persuade them to see things your way, you must first demonstrate that you see things from their position. Then you might be able to shift their perspective.

How can you build rapport rapidly?

Recognize their Perspective

Point out the challenges and frustrations that they face. You might need to do some research to better understand your audience. The fastest way to connect with your audience is to acknowledge their pain. Everyone wants appreciation of their hardships.

Are they sales people who face cold calling, rising quotas and longer sales cycles? Are they professionals striving for more respect from other colleagues? Are they IT managers juggling impossible demands from customer service and operations?

After you have acknowledged their pain, they might accept that you are in their camp. The next thing to do is to remind them of their strengths, valuable contributions and importance to their organizations. Shift the outlook from negative to positive.

These things will establish a growing rapport with your audience. You'll notice heads nodding in agreement and a keener interest in your message.

Relate Common Experience

Relate an example about how you endured a similar situation. This goes beyond understanding. There is nothing like common experience (especially pain) to bring people together. This principle is captured in the old expression, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

Unmask the Elephant in the Room

State the obvious truth that everyone knows but avoids saying out loud. Similarly, you might ask the unasked questions that prey on everyone minds. By giving voice to their repressed thoughts and feelings you become accepted as their friend and perceived as a leader.
Build rapport with your audience to show that you are with them. Then they are more willing to follow your message.


George Torok

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