Public Speaking Training:
I want to give you an illustration of how important building rapport with
your audience is. For example, let's say that you have taken some public
speaking training, learned every aspect of public speaking but technically you are
still a lousy presenter, you can still be great on the stage. By lousy, I mean
that you mess up everything technically. You dress unprofessional, your grammar
and speech are terrible and you might have dandruff.
Do not think for a moment that I want you to be this type of presenter. In
fact, thats why I offer public speaking training to help you not be this way.
But I want you to see the bigger picture. If you give really great information
that is targeted to the needs of your audience, and you do the things that build
up rapport, but fall short technically you can still have a great effective
Remember, I am not giving you an out from becoming technically better as a
presenter. I am just saying that if your information is lousy it does not make
much difference how smooth you are with what you say. Yes, there are some people
that slide by because they are entertaining, but substance and giving people
useful information should always come first.
When planning your speaking engagement think about giving the audience
immediately usable information. They will also need a long term plan, but if you
give people something usable and an action plan that they can get excited about
you will have done half your job already.
Half my job? ... Yes, the other half is to build rapport with the audience.
Having rapport with your audience is vitally important to show them that you
care about them and get them to like you. Showing them you care is an important
part of what you will learn in your public speaking training.
The big picture is that you must build rapport with an audience for them to
get the message. I think of rapport as when the audience trusts you and feels
that you care about them. Here are some ways you can build that trust and caring
- Phone interview a cross section of audience members prior to your
presentation. I cannot tell you how great this has worked for me over the
years. People cannot wait to meet you and they tell others about the call.
This really screams, 'I care about you!'
- Know what you are talking about and admit it when you don't. BS will not
cut it with the sophisticated audiences of today.
- Have some credentials. Do something, write something, record something,
help someone. i.e., do something more than talk.
- Do everything you say you are going to do before the program, and do it in
a helpful and timely manner.
- The meeting organizer in most cases will tell the group, or let it be
known that you walk your talk. Even if he or she does not, you will feel
great about the way you handle things and it will show.
- Make yourself accessible. As long as you are good on the platform, meeting
planners love it when you come early and stay late, so that you can meet
members of the audience.
Offer free follow up for the audience members via email or fax. If you are
too busy to actually answer personally, have an assistant follow up with them.
Do not brush this suggestion off too lightly, it is one of the main methods I
use to deeply penetrate an organization. The people that do follow up for you
are 'angels' in the company. They will tell you of other events or problems
where you might be able to help.
So, you can be 'lousy' technically if you want to, but make sure the audience
trusts you and build rapport and you will have a much better chance that your
message gets through.