How to Build Trust and Rapport with Any Audience


Before you get into your content it’s important to build trust and rapport with your audience in order to keep them listening. Most speakers, especially business presenters, make the mistake of getting right to the content. But that creates the feeling of a firehose being sprayed at the audience and they are not ready or prepared to take it in. Instead, take your time and build that trust and rapport before your deliver your content.

There are several ways to do that. In the beginning, right after your attention grabberthank your audience for being there. Thank them their energy. Thank them for their time. Thank them for whatever else is on your heart and mind. Most speakers thank them at the end instead of the beginning. When you do it at the end it’s too late.

After you thank your audience make sure you thank the host or promoter (and/or the person who invited you to come and speak) directly. Always mention them by name. Use their full name. This builds rapport with your audience, because the host is the leader of the group and your audience wouldn’t be there if they didn’t like the leader. The audience gets an affirmation that they are in the right place with great people who also appreciate them. You could also say, “Let’s give them a big round of applause.”

Next, call people by name. Get to your meetings early and meet and greet some of the audience members. Get to know 3-4 people and remember their names. When you mention one to three names, everyone lives vicariously through them. They all feel the rapport and that love.

In the virtual world, it’s easier. Our virtual exposure has grown by 67% in 2020 alone. If you’re presenting in zoom meetings, the names are on our video in the corner. In fact, when you are on, make sure your first and last name are on. You can put a title after. But don’t put your brand first. Your name gives them the opportunity to build rapport with you.

If you are attending an event as a guest in the room, make sure you have your real name on there too. There is no way to build rapport with a brand. When your name appears, you give the speaker the ability to build rapport with you.

Always, say please and thank you during your presentation. When people raise their hand, thank them for asking that. You might say, “That’s a great question.” These niceties go a long way. This makes them feel good. In the end, people want to feel significant.

Virtual Meeting Rapport Building Tips

When leading a virtual meeting or if even if you’re there as a speaker, greet everyone as they come in. There’s nothing worse than going into a Zoom room and being ignored. We’ve all had that experience and you know it doesn’t feel good when you’ve made the time to show up. So be sure to acknowledge people as you see them come in the room. Even if you’re talking to someone, stop and say hello, welcome them, fill them in, and then continue with the flow of the conversation. The virtual world is where we are going to be for a while. Thus, it’s very important to adjust to this venue, treat each other nicely, and build trust and rapport there.

If you miss this critical step of building rapport with your audience, you run the risk of not being able to effectively convey the message you are there to deliver. Your time and theirs is too precious for that to happen. Building trust and rapport is your first order of business when you speak. Don’t miss this step. Learn how plan and prepare for connecting quickly with your audience so that you can win over your audience every time. I can help you get up to speed with this. Check out our next learning opportunity or get started with one of my speaking resources.

Review my trust and rapport building tips in this quick video:

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About the author 

Arvee Robinson

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