Building rapport with your audience is essential to a successful presentation. By building rapport, you increase your likeability with your audience and move from a typical presenter to a trusted advisor. Not only does this increase the likelihood of your audience connecting with your content, but it also increases the likelihood that your audience will engage with your content. There’s a great quote from a powerful business leader, the late Mack McCormack: “All things being equal, people will do business with a friend; all things being unequal, people will still do business with a friend.” In essence, Mack is saying that when someone feels like a friend, they are far more likely to engage in business with them regardless of whether it’s the best option. It’s clearly in your best interest as a presenter to build a friendly connection with your audience.

With such a need for a strong rapport and friendly perception, we have put together 3 ways to build rapport in your next presentation.

Tell a story about your life.
Stories are a powerful way to draw your audience in and keep them engaged in your content. When looking specifically to build rapport with your audience, it’s important to tell stories that include you. By telling stories about yourself, you allow your audience a glimpse into your personality. Showing them who you are when you are not on stage or selling a product allows you to come across as human and, in return, more likeable. For an extra level of likeability, tell an embarrassing, funny story. This shows your audience you don’t take yourself too seriously and are willing to be vulnerable and open with them.

Show pictures of your family.
A great way to give some insight into who you are as a person is by showing pictures of your family. Much like a story, showing photos of family gives an audience a glimpse into your personal life. If you are looking for more bang for your buck, combine your story with a photo to bring it to life even more with your personality and humanity. When selecting photos, make sure they look real and authentic. A quick way to lower your rapport is by showing a photo that looks photoshopped or staged; your audience will see through this and chalk it up to you showing a facade of your life rather than reality.

Embrace a relaxed language.
Body language communicates a lot. In fact, according to Professor Albert Merhabian’s studies, body language accounts for up to 55% of communication. That means when you are looking to build rapport, a relaxed and approachable body language is key. Avoid folding your arms or slanting your body in such a way that is closed off to the audience. Deliver your content on the balls of your feet which forces you to lean in to your audience, creating the sense that you’re connecting more closely with them. Another tip for building rapport with body language while you’re presenting from a stage is to speak from the edge of the stage to eliminate as much space as possible between you and your audience.

By building a friendly rapport with your audience, you will not only see an increase in your audience engagement in your presentation, but you will see an increase in your connections post presentation. People have an innate desire to be in relationship with people they like, which means by building rapport and becoming likable, you will set yourself apart from the competition before any facts or figures are presented.

Want to learn more about how to deliver with excellence? Check out the Presentation Mentor online course today.

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