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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 inclusion 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:

– Universals

– Truisms.

Universals are 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.’


Truisms are 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?

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.


And that’s not all…. if you’ve read my book or attended our masterclasses you’ll know there’s more to this than meets the eye!


Building rapport: the secret sauce to connecting quickly with your audience

In 2006 I developed a model to help you feel more engaging, persuasive and confident. This model will help you shift your audience from their current to your desired state. I call it the Persuasion Blueprint.


The Persuasion Blueprint combines all of the key elements of an influential presentation (from start to finish) and help you know exactly what to say with precision, accuracy and linguistic mastery.


Here’s the low down:

Great presenters follow a formula – if you don’t know the formula you’re missing out on a powerful result from your written and spoken communication.


Specifically, the Persuasion Blueprint will help you:

– Build deep rapport with your audience.

– Stimulate your audience to listen actively.

– Manage audience conflict or objections to your content.

– Influence your audience to think, feel and do what you have planned.

– Ensure that you answer the questions audience members are asking (both unspoken and spoken) regardless of their personality.

– Feel confident that you have prepared thoroughly for any audience.


Here are the 13 Steps in the Persuasion Blueprint for you briefly:

1.Build rapport with your audience.

2. Assert your perspective.

3. Motivate your audience to pay attention.

4. Proactively manage audience objections.

5. Control and relax your audience.

6. Deliver the facts, figures and data.

7. Explain the steps for implementing your ideas.

8. Provide any other information.

9. Summarise your three key points.

10. Call your audience to action.

11. Manage questions and answers.

12. Highlight negative and positive consequences.

12. Close with a sizzle!


More information?

For more information on how to present, write and speak with confidence, clarity and influence please read How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting live and online (Wiley). Or consider attending our public 2-day Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass to transform your persuasive presentation skills in business.


©Michelle Bowden 2023

MICHELLE BOWDEN CSP is an authority on persuasive presenting in business. She’s run her Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass over 950 times for more than 12,000 people over the past 23 years and her name is a synonym for ‘presentation skills’ in Australia. She’s 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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