Connect With Your Audience; Build Rapport

One of the keys to effective public speaking and presenting is the ability to connect with your audience. You will all have experienced workshops and seminars where the speaker really connected with you and had a massive influence over your thinking. And there will be other presenters who may have been quite confident and eloquent, but they failed to have the same type of impact on you. The difference between the two was simply that one speaker connected and built rapport with you, while the other failed to make this connection.


There is a famous marketing quote that states, “People buy from people they know, like, and trust.” I am unsure of the author, but it is in much of the marketing literature. I have slightly adapted this quote to say “People listen and learn from people they know, like, and trust.” As a speaker and presenter, you are selling knowledge, information, your experience, a new way of thinking and you are doing this to help the audience in one way or another. Generally you are helping your audience to solve a problem, overcome adversity, alleviate some pain, achieve a goal or reach some dream in their lives. Before selling these messages to your audience, first take the time to build rapport and connect.


Some tips for rapport building and audience connecting presentations include:

  • Know what you are talking about
  • Do what you say “Walk The Talk”
  • Have some credentials and experience
  • Reveal you vulnerability or your journey
  • Share your struggle
  • Be humble and open to the audience ideas
  • Build trust
  • Remain behind at the end of your presentation – be the last to leave
  • Give them extra value by providing bonuses, newsletters and other free stuff
  • Follow up on what you agreed to do – find the answers to those difficult questions


Next time you speak, take the time to connect and build rapport before you move into the teaching, selling, persuasive or information stage of your presentation. Earn the right to “sell” your message first.

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