Picture of female presenter in rapport with her stakeholder

Mastering Rapport: Inspire Interest and Deepen Engagement

Mastering Rapport: Inspire Interest and Deepen Engagement. Being in rapport with your audience is crucial for achieving your outcomes because it establishes a foundation of trust, understanding, and mutual respect. When you’re in rapport, your audience is more receptive to your message, making it easier to influence and persuade them. 

How can you build rapport?

In order to achieve a high level of rapport, the best way to start your presentation is to use what I refer to as ‘inclusive statements’.

Inclusive statements are those that audience members will understand and relate to. There are two types of inclusive statements:

1. Universals



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, 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.’


Writing the best inclusive statements for your presentation

There are billions of inclusive statements that you can say at the start of your presentation. The trick is to come up with the best choices! No pressure! 

The best approach is to first work out what your key message is. I call this your leading statement. For example, let’s say you are presenting to a group of financial planners and your leading statement might be: “It is essential that you provide the best, personalised advice for your clients”.


The best way to come up with the perfect inclusive statements is to first write down your leading statement, then work backwards.  Ask yourself, ‘if this is my leading statement, what universals and/or truisms could I say that would link together, make sense together and lead the audience to believing my leading statement?’

For example: the leading statement is “It is essential that you provide the best, personalised advice for your clients”.

Now, make sure you get right into your audience’s shoes so that you truly reflect what they care about (in relation to this matter) and therefore maximise your rapport with them. When you are writing your inclusive statements, it’s a good idea to ask yourself the following critical question: What does my audience 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.


Here’s the completed example: 

“You would be well aware of the turbulence in the financial markets at present. Some of you may have found that client concerns have increased markedly following the recent performance of the international share market and the subsequent negative media coverage. Many of you would be speaking with clients who want to withdraw their funds from share-based investments. It is essential that you provide the best, personalised advice for your clients”.


Example 2; Customer Service Team

If I was presenting to a group of customer service representatives, I would reflect what they know to be true:

“Many of us have been on the receiving end of poor customer service, and we know that it often means we won’t go back to that service provider if we can help it. Many of us would expect that the customer service division (of Company X) strives to provide excellent service. Please ensure that you provide awesome service to our customers every time”.


Give this a try at the start of your next presentation! 

Janus Henderson team members celebrating in Presentation skills training Sydney with Michelle Bowden presentation skills trainer in December 2018

Would you like to participate in our presentation skills training course?

We have a 25-year proven track record in developing people’s business presentation, public speaking and pitching skills. We will help YOU stand out for all the right reasons! 


Master the art of public speaking and persuasive presenting in business with our life-changing public speaking training in Sydney LIVE and ONLINE via Zoom. One presentation skills training course once is all you need.


Become a more confident, engaging and persuasive business presenter & stay true to your natural style!


We promise no weird physical touching or videoing!

©2024 MICHELLE BOWDEN is an authority on persuasive presenting in business.


Michelle Bowden has run her Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass over 1000 times for more than 13,000 people over the past 25 years and her name is a synonym for ‘presentation skills’ in Australia.


Michelle Bowden 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).

Michelle Bowden presentation skills trainer delivering her conference presentation skills training at the LGFP Annual Conference in 2023 in the Gold Coast

Share this post