How to Build Rapport with Your Audience
Have you heard about horse whisperers? People who exhibit an almost mystical bond with horses. They can calm the horse. The horse trusts them and follows their guidance.
Imagine if you could have that effect on your audience. Establish trust and have them follow your guidance.
The way you do that is by establishing rapport. To establish rapport, the audience must believe that you understand them and share common experiences or values.
Demonstrate how you are like your audience.
How might you do that especially when you don’t know your audience well or believe that they are different from you for economic or sociographic reasons?
Leverage Your Family
Talk about your family. Tell a short story about your family. Even better if it’s funny or expresses frustration with certain family members. Why is that effective? Because everyone has family, and they typically have strong memories and feelings about family. When you talk about your family, they can connect with you because of those similar emotions.
We all have family and strong feelings about family. Use your family stories to trigger those common emotions.
A second way to build rapport is to reveal a flaw or embarrassment. Tell a short story about that. One where you are not the hero. Instead, you’re the butt of the incident. It doesn’t need to be a major flaw.
When you reveal a weakness, flaw or embarrassment, you are being vulnerable. When you do that, we trust you more because it seems you have nothing to hide. The other benefit is that the audience can relate to your pain because they all have similar incidents they’d like to forget.
The added benefit of sharing pain is that you demonstrate how you are imperfect just like them. Too many speakers present themselves as perfect. They believe you’ll listen better if they are perfect. The opposite is true. When a person claims they are perfect, they are lying because nobody is perfect. When you claim perfection, we hate you. But when you admit your imperfection, we can identity with you because secretly we all know we are imperfect.
Be selective about which flaws you reveal and don’t tell all your flaws. You want to maintain credibility.
Build rapport with your audience by demonstrating how you are like them. Imagine if you could be an audience whisperer.