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1 Trick That Builds Instant Rapport With Your Audience

audience rapport building

What’s The Situation?

Maybe you’re an entrepreneur and you just want to sell your idea through a pitch contest.
Maybe you’re a sales executive or an account manager and you just have a sales presentation or a business pitch that you want to end successfully.
Maybe you’re just a dude selling paprika on the local bazaar.
Whatever you are and what you want to accomplish, you’re very motivated, think that your idea/product is the best in the world and that everyone should unanimously buy into it.

Then What’s The Problem?

You get on stage/in front of the conference table and start talking. You got your power frame on, the assertiveness in your voice is through the roof,  your slides are perfectly designed and contain just the right amount of information.
Ah if only you wore the turtle neck…
Everything seems to be in order. You’re plowing through the slides, showing the market, the problem, the solution, people seem to be focused.
The presentation ends, you got the stage excitement in your blood and you’re expecting an avalanche of questions and the winner’s applause.
You got the applause but it wasn’t anything special. Just the regular clap that feels like

  • “now move on”
  • “another presentation another day, ah well”,
  • “Oh hi presentation.”

You got one question as well, just to fill the awkward silence ( by your co-founder).
What the hell happened? You had the perfect presentation, so why aren’t these people buying it?
You can’t figure it out and you continue to repeat the same mistake over and over and over again. Frustration is an understatement.


You can have the perfectly designed slides and the perfect delivery but without rapport, it’s like eating a gyroz pita without meat.

What’s Rapport?

Making someone feel close to you emotionally and logically when he is around you, even though he knows you for 10 minutes. Rapport is that magical connection that bonds both of you together.
It’s really simple. Just think about the following:
Who feels most comfortable around you? Who would listen to you talk all day long without losing a bit of attention?
The people who feel most comfortable around and have the most rapport with you are the ones that have known you for a while – family, friends, acquaintances and of course doge. Those that know you’re there to help them as much as they’re there for the same reason.
So what you need to do is just make your audience feel as if you and they have known each other for a long time.
There are a lot of strategies you can use to accomplish this but the one that I’ve found to be the most effective is the following:

The Trick Explained

If executed properly, this won’t take you more than an hour to finish and will help you tremendously in connecting with the audience.
First, you need to find out who are the people in the audience. Their names, jobs, wants, needs, hobbies, etc…


  • You can kindly ask the startup organizer to give you either access or at least share some names of the audience. Usually, the organizers hold a list they get from signups with the names of the people joining. But let them know that this is going to be used only for the presentation and nothing more
    • If it’s a sales presentation, then find out who is coming to the presentation.
  • Then visit their social profiles
  • Note a few names and remember their faces, occupation, any interesting things they’ve done lately (trips, blog posts etc)
  • Also, if you’re at a startup conference, do the same for the judges – these should be the number one priority


You will use these rapport builders during the presentation to build instant rapport with your audience and make them feel as if they’re talking to a good friend.

What’s Next?

  • Depending on the type of presentation you’re doing, if for example, you have a “buyer persona” type of slide or part of the presentation, you should use some of the information you found on the individuals from the audience and use it in the persona.
    • Don’t use their names though – it’s creepy.
    • What this does is make the presentation and topic relate to the person.
  • While talking, engage the audience with questions, and always use their names when addressing them. Remembering names is a very strong rapport builder.
    • For example: Raise your hand if you have had something similar happen (referring to the problem you’re addressing)
      • Mark (the person in the audience you want to build rapport with), you mentioned something earlier about this problem. Would you care to share?
        • It doesn’t necessarily mean that you talked with Mark previously, but you did research him and know some things about him – besides he already raised his hand.
    • Ask questions that directly relate to the next slide so that your audience would reveal what’s on the next slide. This way your audience would feel included in your presentation, and when you switch to the next slide, they would feel like they’ve achieved something good.

You do this several times during the presentation, and what you’ll see is people giving you that puppy look whenever you’re talking to them because you’ve hooked them emotionally and created a rapport. They feel like they’re the only person in the room and it should stay that way.
Oren Klaff talked about this approach in his book Pitch Anything, but in a bit different sense.
In short, to successfully pitch an idea, you’d have to hijack the audiences’ emotions – you do this by showing them you really understand your product, and what it can solve, and most importantly, for whom it can solve it. The last part is crucial.
You have any problems connecting with your audience? Don’t have a “buyer persona type of slide” but still want to include the audience members? Let us know in the comments or write here:


If you’re looking for someone to help you with your presentation skills, visit our founders site.



Creative Strategist. Owner of content production house BB Director, creative strategy studio viktori.co and nomadic travel blog Direktorium.org.Besides enjoying burgers, kickboxing, hiking, fishing and running, I enjoyed working with brands like Porsche, Flat-icons, Foodie Flashpacker, Drugwatcher and more.10 years of experience in creating strategies, ideas and implementing them. More than 10 years of experience eating burgers.

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