Photo of Karen Jacobsen and Michelle Bowden and

Building Rapport so people want to listen when you speak

I love this photo with Karen Jacobsen who is the Australian voice of Siri. Look at how much fun we are having. We met for the first time in person on this day and look how quickly we became spirit animals!  This is what rapport actually looks like!

In order to achieve a high level of rapport or connection when you are speaking, writing or presenting, the best way to begin is with some sentences that we call ‘inclusive statements’.


What are Inclusive Statements?

Inclusive statements are those that your stakeholder or audience members will understand and relate to.


There are two types of inclusive statements:

1. Universals – statements that everyone will understand and relate to.

For example:

‘Many people would like to be more successful.’

‘Most of us would like to have more money to spend on things we enjoy.’

‘Many of us would like to have more of the things we want in life.’


2. Truisms – statements that are true just for this particular audience (or person), at this time, in this particular forum:

For example:

‘Many of you are good at setting and achieving your goals.’

‘Many of you are excited about the opportunity of unlocking your full potential.’


How do you use these to build rapport?

Make sure you get right into your audience’s shoes and come up with the best, most insightful opening statements that you can, so that you maximise your rapport with the audience. When you are writing your universals and truisms, it’s a good idea to ask yourself: ‘What does my audience or stakeholder know to be true?’

Once you have a few answers, make sure that they all link to your subject and flow naturally and seamlessly from one statement to the next.


Happy presenting!

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Salesforce team members in Michelle Bowden's Presentation Skills Training 2023
Michelle Bowden Presentation Skills Training

©2024 MICHELLE BOWDEN is an authority on persuasive presenting in business. She’s run her Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass over 995 times for more than 13,000 people over the past 25 years and her name is a synonym for ‘presentation skills’ in Australia. 

Michelle is a multi-million-dollar pitch coach to her client list that reads like a who’s who of international business: banking and finance, IT, pharmaceutical, retail, telecommunications plus many more.

Michelle is the creator of the Persuasion Smart Profile®, a world-first psychological assessment tool that reports on your persuasive strengths and weaknesses at work, the best-selling internationally published author of How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting live and online (Wiley) and her new book is called How to Persuade: the skills you need to get what you want (Wiley).


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