Seven ways to build rapport with your audience

Do you want to inspire and motivate your audience when giving a presentation? Then you need to build rapport with the crowd. If you don't, they will leave feeling detached and as though their time has been wasted. Here are seven tips for getting them on side.

by Julie Kertesz
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

1.    Use a personal story or anecdote

This shows you are ready to be open, vulnerable and personable, and it will make them more receptive. A story that goes straight to their hearts is one they will remember long after the words have gone.

2.    Use humour to lower the tension

For example, dare to mock what happened to you – self-deprecating humour is a great way to make you appear more human and one of them.

3.    Create images and movies in their heads

Everyone will see something slightly different in their mind's eye, adding their own experiences to it, thus making it theirs. Tell them enough, but leave room for them to add their own touches.

4.    Pause

Pause at the beginning of your talk, and before an important passage. A pause allows you to hold them in your hand, uniting them in the tension of waiting.
    
5.    Focus on the moment

Easy to say, but how to do it? Plan your talk, practice and then try and focus all your energies on the task at hand, no matter how distracting the lights, or coughs from the audience may be. And remember to smile – and breathe!

6.    Use variety in your voice to enhance your message

For instance quickening the pace to add tension, emphasising key words to bring out important points (but don’t overdo it!) and lowering your volume to add suspense. The most important things are to connect with your own emotions and what you care about. It will show.

7.    Believe!

Give yourself confidence by believing that the audience is your friend, and will give you energy. Believe profoundly in what you are talking about and this will take care of most of your vocal variety and gestures – and ensure that you project authenticity.

Each audience, each room, each time is different. So always remember to adapt the speech for each occasion, and will be received differently.


Julie Kertesz is a photographer and member of public speaking charity Toastmasters International.



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