Building trust with your audience is a vital part of developing rapport and connection that will lead to a lasting connection. But in a culture of mistrust and fake news, many presenters find themselves asking the question where do I start? At Ethos3 we believe the best way to build trust with your audience is by developing common ground. Common ground is the place where humans let down their guard and open up their mind to new ideas. While the common ground is vital to develop it is not easily done.

Which is why we have put together a list of 3 ways to get to know your audience because once you know them you can find the common ground which will ultimately lead to trust.

Meet Them

On presentation day it is easy to hide behind the podium and deliver an excellent presentation. However, embracing this process can lead to disengagement and lack of common ground. By hiding behind the podium you create a barrier between you and the audience. You distinguish yourself as an outsider rather than a trusted friend. With this in mind, we recommend stepping outside your comfort zone and spending as much time pre-presentation to get to know your audience. If the audience is large spend time walking around meeting as many people as possible. If it is small take the time to learn each members name and interests. By getting to know your audience you will have a baseline of how you can build a common ground ultimately leading to trust.

Do Your Homework

It is common knowledge that before an interview an interviewee should take time to get to know their potential supervisor. This allows you to build common ground on interview day. In many ways, the same is true for a presenter. Before presentation day do your best to research and understand your audience. If you know specific members leverage social media to connect and learn a bit about them. If you are unable to accomplish this in a non-stalker way consider researching the company or organization. By doing your homework you walk in with one leg up knowing before you even meet your audience a bit about them.

Leverage Stories

One of the quickest ways to build trust and get to know your audience is through common experiences. Stories are a great way to uncover and build common ground through those stories. As a presenter we often reserve our stories for presentation day however we recommend leveraging those powerful stories outside of the presentation and within the audience. Be sure to keep these stories personal and focus on experiential stories. By doing this you increase the chances of finding a common connection and getting to know your audience a bit deeper.

Getting to know your audience is a difficult task but it’s one that cannot be overlooked. By focusing on your audience before the presentation to increase your connection and get to know your audience on a deeper level.
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