Rapport – The Key to Any Great Presentation

Rapport can be defined as an intangible, invisible “link” that exists between a speaker and his audience. It is that comfort zone where both parties start to enjoy each others presence and a sense of trust develops. No matter how content-rich or persuasive one’s presentation is, a presenter would never succeed in communicating effectively with his audience without this presenter-audience relationship known as rapport.

So how do you tell whether rapport is lacking between you and your audience? The following would reveal some signs that things may not be going well during your presentation.

1) Excessive small talk among your audience members

2) People dozing off intermittently

3) Facial expressions of boredom

4) Languid body language

5)People excusing themselves repeatedly to leave the room

Conversely, when good rapport is established, communication between both parties would reach an optimum level. This is the point where you would notice your audience members giving you and your presentation full attention. Considerable eye contact is made and heads nod in agreement with the issues you raise. People would be laughing at your jokes appropriately or even applaud you for a valid point made. In fact, when questions start rolling from the audience, it may not always be a bad sign because audience members are participating in a fruitful dialogue with you or with other members, which shows that interest in your presentation topic is sustained.

But how does anyone create rapport with his audience?

The secret to this million-dollar question lies in subtle techniques that almost every great speaker or presenter employ whether consciously or sub-consciously. The number one trick-of-the-trade would be the effective use of humor. Everyone loves to be entertained and a presenter with a great sense of humor would often spark off rapport with witty one-liners or amusing life experiences. However, jokes should be threaded on carefully so as to ensure that they do not breach political, gender, cultural or racial boundaries.

Furthermore, considerable eye contact would help in creating rapport even without your audience knowing that this is a deliberate effort by you to do so. Why? Because eye contact with the audience conveys sincerity. Think about it. If someone goes up to you and strikes up a conversation without looking at your eyes and keeps glancing to the sides, how would you feel?

Get my point? It is logical, isn’t it?

However, do also take note that although a steady sequence of eye contacts would reveal your confidence in your subject, staring right at someone would definitely imply rudeness or hostility. This is merely a social skill taken into the context of public speaking. As a rule-of-thumb, a three-second eye contact with an individual would be more than sufficient.

Lastly, as a presenter or public speaker, you should use your body language to “win over” your audience. This means that one should first adopt a confident, open posture when presenting, since such a physical gesture would suggest self-assurance and optimism. No one would want to listen to a speaker who appears nonchalant and seems like he does not even believe in his subject matter. Thereafter, wear a smile regardless of situations since this is the most effortless tool in creating rapport. Not only is it the easiest but it is the most effective, especially when you open your presentation with it. In fact, we use more facial muscles frowning than smiling. So by conveying positivity to your audience members with a sincere smile, you would have instantly created preliminary rapport with them, thereby ensuring that you have won at least half your presentation battle.

Thus, building rapport is critical to any presentation and it is often this indefinable element that distinguishes a great presentation from an average one. Time and again, we tend to take such subtle techniques for granted as we focus excessively on our presentation content and material. However, by bringing these skills into our conscious minds, we would be able to communicate successfully with any audience.

Presentations – Stand Out Tip – Look ‘em in the Eye

The remarkable thing about having powerful presentation skills is that they “trickle down” to all of your interpersonal communications, whether in meetings, interviews, or even phone calls. So mastering the tough skills of standing up and standing out in front of a crowd also means you’ll have the ability to stand out in all your interactions. There are a handful of qualities that consistently do give you stand out status. Doesn’t matter how smart or talented or attractive you are-universally, these attributes can make you the kind of person that other people want to know, work with and do business with.

One powerful such attribute is “look em in the eye.” In our culture, eye communication is correlated with trust and credibility.

What do you think about those who can’t look at you while talking to you? At best, you might assume a lack of confidence or knowledge about what they’re talking about. At worst, you may think they’re lying. Neither are particularly desirable assessments! And turn it around. Suppose you’re the one talking and your listener is not looking at you. How does that make you feel? At best, you might feel like you’re not being listened to; at worst, it sends a signal of disinterest and disrespect. That’s certainly not conducive to good communication.

I do an exercise in my training workshops where I pair everyone up into partners, A & B. Each pair has a conversation where A talks and B listens. However, at a signal from me, B must break eye communication. What happens next varies from workshop to workshop, but it always has one of these results: (1) the room goes silent as all the As get so derailed, they stop talking, (2) the volume level increases substantially as some of the As talk louder to get the attention of the disengaged Bs, or (3) there’s hilarious laughter as the As realize they can’t communicate with B if B isn’t looking them in the eye!

In a workshop I did for a printing company, a participant, who happened to be the group’s manager, spoke up during the debriefing of that exercise and announced, “This was a life-changing event for me.” Wow. I asked her to explain.

“Well, I have always prided myself on my ability to multi-task. I could be proofing a galley and typing a memo, and if an employee came into my office, I could still listen to whatever they had to tell me without breaking stride on the other stuff. But what I just learned is, it doesn’t matter whether I’m listening to them or not. The perception is that I’m not. And I don’t want to make it hard for my team to communicate with me.”

The rest of that story is, several years later, I ran into this manager at a social event. I told her what a strong impression her admission had made on me all those years ago and asked her if it had truly guided her communications after that. She assured me that it had. And, by the way, she had in those few years, become one of the partners of the company. All due to being able to look people in the eye? Who knows? But it’s clearly an important “stand out” skill.

Here’s a great way to remember its value: “eye communication” insures you’re not having “I communication.” The ability to look someone in the eye — whether you’re talking or listening — conveys an interest in the other party, which makes that person feel special, appreciated, listened to. Keep in mind, I’m not talking about a stare-down. It’s natural to occasionally break a gaze, to glance at notes, to raise your eyes in thought. But when your eyes are primarily focused elsewhere, it’s a huge disconnect. Eye communication is a strong connecting behavior. It instills confidence and trust.

Purchasing the Best Christening Presents

It can be difficult to know what to buy as a Christening present. It’s difficult to think of a gift to purchase for a baby which will be suitable for the majority of its life. I’ve written the following article to inform you of the best presents which are suitable for a Christening.

I canvas of all pictures of the new born to date is a nice gift that can be treasured for the rest of their lives. This is also a great present for the parents and shows the changes in their appearance in the early stages of their lives. I would strongly recommend this to closer family members who will have access to pictures like this. Don’t forget this may take some time to create as the pictures have got to be uploaded and made into a collage.

A charming dolls house for girls could be a lovely gift. Family members can purchase things for the doll’s house throughout the children’s younger years. Often adults still have dolls houses and this would be a nice ‘keep sake’ item to remind them of their youth.

Personalised handmade sundials are also a nice gift. This can be put in the child’s garden when they’re grown up which is a lovely ‘keep sake’ and can be used for their entire life.

Personalised plates are also a great idea as they can have a personal message or name on the plate which can be lovely for memories. It can also be used whenever throughout their life which is a lovely thought.

Whatever you choose I would recommend giving it much thought so you purchase the best gift. I would also recommend purchasing with voucher codes to save money on the purchase. Whichever gift you purchase will be great as you have put time and consideration into the gift.