The Best Handful of Tips 23 – Establishing a Rapport with an Audience
Try to build a bond with your audience right from the start.
Focus on a simple, clear, interesting, entertaining message. It’s new information people want, or new ideas they haven’t thought of.
The five best tips to establish a rapport with an audience
At the start
Compose yourself. Adjust your lectern and your notes and your microphone. Don’t be in a hurry.
When you are organised pause, smile at a friend and tell a story or an anecdote. This will create and interest and get your audience used to your voice. (If you have a sound technician, adjustments can be made.)
Look for common ground
Talk about local experiences, associations or common issues.
Refer to familiar places and quote people the audience respect. “It’s great to return. I have many happy memories here. I went to a local school.”
“I was talking to the Prime Minister recently and he asked me to pass on his greetings to you all.”
Focus on the audience’s concerns
Agree with some of their hopes, beliefs, attitudes and values. “Like you, I strongly believe this town doesn’t need a new bi-pass.”
People like new information, so make your message fresh, exciting and stimulating.
If you make recommendations explain the benefits and advantages. Be objective with your comments.
If you have a hostile audience
Be polite and respectful at all times. Keep calm even if you have an argumentative audience.
Let the chairperson deal with problem people.
Don’t get into an argument with anyone, no matter how provocative they are. Just ignore them and quickly move on with your presentation.
Use humour to lower tension.
Share your feelings and emotions
Tell your audience how you feel about things. Be honest, modest, sincere and present facts, not fiction.
Always have a strong ending. Summarise your main points and appeal for any actions you are recommending.
“Bait your messages to hook your audiences.”
SOURCE: “Persuasive Ways” published by Moss Associates Ltd, New Zealand and in Chinese by the Shanghai People’s Publishing House and as “Secrets of Persuasion” by Cengage Learning Asia. Also published in Hungarian as “Getting Your Ideas Across” by Bagolyvar Kft, Budapest and by Kogan Page Ltd., U.K.
Also available as an e-book from Amazon.com.