Before you can convince someone, before you can persuade someone, before you can influence someone with your presentation to accept your ideas, your initiatives, you’ve got to first build a connection with them. In this article I will show you seven different ways that you can use to build a connection with your audience when you next present your ideas.
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Use your smile to build a connection
The first way and the most effective way that you can build a connection with an audience is to smile. You want to show your audience that you’re warm, that you’re approachable and that you’re relatable. One of the ways and most effective ways that you can do that is by simply smiling. Smiling opens up your face, it relaxes you and it relaxes your audience. When you smile and present your ideas in a manner that shows that you’re enjoying yourself, you want to stand behind them and by simply smiling makes you relatable, your audience will start to connect with you.
Compare that to the speaker who stands there sternly faced – who doesn’t look happy, who doesn’t look like they’re enjoying themselves. Your audience isn’t going to make a connection with that kind of speaker so, for you to make a real connection and to have a real impact smile, allow your face to open up and be warm and your audience will start to relate to you.
Build a connection with energy and enthusiasm
In a similar manner to smiling, our second step to build a connection with an audience is to have enthusiasm and energy. When you present, when you share your ideas, have energy and enthusiasm. That could be energy and enthusiasm in your voice and in your physical and bodily gestures. Make sure that there is an enthusiasm that comes through that shows that you want to share you’re ideas and you want to stand behind them.
If you don’t deliver your ideas and you don’t try to persuade with any real energy behind it, you’re not going to get your audience’s buy-in. They’re going to feel a disconnect with you. They’re not going to understand why, if you’ve got such great ideas, you’ve got such wonderful things that can be done, that you’re not more energised and enthusiastic. When you deliver, make sure that you have energy and enthusiasm in your voice and that you’re energy and enthusiasm is conveyed through the use of the speaking area with your body language and your gestures to accompany it.
Eye Contact builds a connection
One of the most important and effective ways to make a connection with an audience is through eye contact. You must look your audience members in the eye. Make a connection with them. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Whether that’s true or not, they are a window that will provide a level of relatability because your audience members will be looking to you and judging you by your eye contact with them.
If you cannot make a connection with them through eye contact, they’re going to not trust you or your ideas.
If you have any children in your life, whether they’re your children or someone else’s, when they have done something wrong, the way that you judge if they are telling you the truth when they tell you what’s happened – do they look at you or do they look away from you? That’s what your audience is doing. They are judging you and trying to build that connection with you through your eye contact. If you don’t make eye contact, they can’t make a connection with you, they’re not going to trust you. It’s really important for you to take the time to make eye contact with key people around the room.
Stories build a connection with emotion
Utilizing stories is an awesome way to make a connection with your audience. It provides relatable ideas and relatable messages – making your message emotionally appealing. You can really build a strong, deep connection with your audience when you share stories. This is not about telling fairy stories. This is about telling personal stories that will illustrate your key points. When you can share stories that are relatable to your audience, that illustrate the key points, that connection is going to be deepened on two levels.
Firstly, they will get the ideas. They will understand the key points that you are trying to convey. Most importantly, they will become memorable. They will become memorable because they are emotional – so you are able to use stories to build a connection and illustrate points logically and importantly, emotionally so that you have a complete connection with your audience. Utilise stories to build that and deepen and strengthen the connection you have with your audiences.
Build a strong connection with laughter
Stories also provide one really powerful avenue for you to build a connection and that is it’s an opportunity to make people laugh. When you can make your audiences laugh they drop down all the barriers, any levels of resistances they might have had to the ideas, to the points that you’re sharing drop dramatically because they are laughing.
Audiences won’t laugh if they’ve got a level of resistance but stories enable you to find those humorous moments; those funny anecdotes that happen within day to day life that create a level of enthusiasm, that create that a level of enjoyment so that your audience relaxes. When they relax they open up their minds and they deepen and strengthen their connection. Utilise stories to find, not only illustrating key points but, find ways to make them laugh because when they laugh, they really are trusting you and relating with you.
Build a connection with their words
A key method in making a deeper connection is to ensure that you’re using language which is relatable to your audience. If you’re using jargon, words that are not specific to them, it’s foreign to them. There’s going to be disconnect between you and your audience. You’re effectively relying on them to do a level of translation.
True power comes when you can share your ideas, your products, your services, your solutions in their terms. When you force them to think you’re create a disconnect. Yet when you use their terms, their language, their phrasing it makes it so much easier for them to understand. It shows a relatability. It demonstrates a care and concern for them and for their issues and challenges.
That simple act of ensuring that you use their words, their phrasing, and the language that they use in their day to day work, makes a massive difference. It shows that you care and that you’ve taken the time to think about how you can help their world.
Make sure that you use their words, their phrasing, their language that they’ve used to describe their challenges, their situation, and their aspirations and effectively replay it back to them. The more you use their language, the better the connection will be because they will know and understand that you care.
Conversations build a connection
Finally, the most important point and the most powerful way that you can build a connection with your audience is to make sure the presentation is a conversation. You’ve got to resist the temptation to speak to an audience as a group. Try to avoid using phrases such as ‘we’. What you need to do is rephrase itand personalise it so you make it ‘you’.
A simple example is, who here comes from Sydney? Now, that’s one way that you might ask a question of a group of people. But you can rephrase it very simply and very quickly by saying, “Raise your hand if you come from Sydney.” That simple phrasing changes it from talking to a collection of people to talking to an individual. The room might be full of 100 people, 150 people, 200, however many. It doesn’t matter. You’ve personalised it, you’ve phrased it in the terms of you’re talking to one.
Make sure that when you’re presenting … No matter how many people are in the room, that you’re always speaking to one person. That will help you build a connection with every single person in the room.
We’ve covered seven very simple, very effective ways that will help you build a connection with an audience. When you build a connection with them they are going to be open to your ideas, they are open to being influenced and persuaded by what you’re saying. Without building a connection, your chances of persuading them and influencing them are almost none.
Leverage these seven different ways that you can build a connection to increase your influence and be more persuasive. If you want more help, would like some assistance, then I’d encourage you to check out the Public Speaking Skills Academy. I have range of articles, videos that will help you develop your authority and positioning, your influencing skills. I have Mentoring and Mastermind programs that are designed to help business owners and leaders develop their authority, increase their influence and ultimately sell more ideas and win more in business.