I’m guessing we’ve all experienced occasions where we show up to deliver our message to crickets or the sound of tumbleweed blowing by…
It can be quite heartbreaking that the message you’re so eager and passionate about sharing just doesn’t get through to your audience, right?
Well, maybe you don’t have an audience yet. But even if you do, you might experience this scenario and are probably wondering how to turn things around and get people to listen, to engage, to take action and to buy your offers.
What happens if you don’t build rapport
If that’s you and you’re looking for ways to build rapport with your audience – good on ya, you’re on the right track! Cause if you haven’t built rapport with your audience yet, those are the likely consequences.
Because without it, your audience and you are not on the same page. You don’t know what they want and need, and they don’t know why they should listen and how you can help.
Building rapport is like building a bridge between you and your audience. You show them that you know their struggles and desires and they feel seen and understood. Which is the basis for any positive, meaningful interaction.
So as you’ve probably heard before: Building rapport is all about establishing the know-like-trust factor that primes people to engage and invest in your offer.
Why is building rapport so important?
Now let’s dig a little deeper to understand why this is so important:
Let me tell you a little something about the brain that you might find rather unnerving (I do!): Your brain divides all people into 2 categories: “us” and “them”.
And it does so very, very quickly. It only takes milliseconds to activate certain brain regions when we see pictures of the face of someone belonging to another race for example. It’s automatic and it has been observed in other species too.
(If you wanna know more about this, read “Behave” by Robert Sapolsky – such a great book!!)
In other words: This stereotyping is not conscious.
Now, race is not the only factor your brain considers when grouping people into one of these 2 categories. It can group people according to gender, social status, values, beliefs, humor, or other shared traits or experiences.
“Us” vs “Them”
Why does this matter? Because we feel more connected to people belonging to the same group, however, you’d like to define that group. We trust them more, are more forgiving, and associate more positive terms with them.
Which in turn leads to more positive interactions.
In contrast, people who are seen as not belonging to our group, are perceived as more threatening and less trustworthy.
That’s why building rapport is so crucial: It basically tells your audience’s brains “I’m one of you, you can trust me, I’m not a threat”.
It’s not quite that easy though…
Things get really messy when you consider that how we define “us” is highly context-specific and how we prioritize belonging to one of these groups depends on how strongly you feel about each group.
You might be a middle-aged European mom, blogger, vegan, cat-lover, coffee drinker, fitness junkie, hippie and so much more. So you simultaneously belong to a multitude of possible groups.
Which ones of those are most important to you? It likely varies depending on your current circumstances, maybe even the time of day. Everything is more tolerable after your morning coffee, right?! 😉
Speaking of coffee: Maybe you’re perfectly fine with people who drink tea instead of coffee but you just can’t stand being around meat eaters because they do something that you condemn.
So you feel very passionate about one category, but not so much about others.
Taking a stand
Now when building rapport with your audience, it’s important to take a stand for and/or against some things so that people KNOW what groups you belong to.
Put special emphasis on the groups that make sense for your business and/or are controversial. For example, if your business is around interior design, it makes more sense to highlight the fact that you’re a designer than you’re a runner.
You know what I mean, right?
Make your messaging clear as daylight
If your messaging is ambiguous or doesn’t articulate which groups you belong to, people don’t see you as belonging to their group. Which as I said before makes them less likely to trust you and invest in your offer.
I know you might be afraid of driving people away by taking a stand for something, but trust me on this one. Make it very clear what you stand for and against.
So for example here is what I stand for: I’m a work-from-home-mom and I believe that you can be a caring mom AND an entrepreneur at the same time and that you don’t have to compromise your health in the process.
Here is what I stand against: Constant hustle & busywork. Sacrificing your health or family time in order to build and grow your business.
If you’re here, you likely believe in these things too. Maybe you’re not quite experiencing them yet, but you know in your heart that this is what you believe and what you’re working towards.
Like attracts like
People will automatically either flock to you because they identify with your message, or they will turn on their heels and run for the hills because they do NOT identify with your message.
As they say: Birds of a feather flock together.
This is a GOOD thing!! Those people who identify with your message are the dream clients you want. Don’t worry about those others because they wouldn’t have been a good fit anyway!
So here are 10 tips to build rapport with your audience and grow your know-like-trust factor:
1. Know your audience and focus on THEIR needs, not yours.
2. Use the same keywords and keyphrases your audience uses to describe their thoughts, feelings, struggles, and aspirations.
3. Share personal stories to be more relatable.
4. Use humor.
5. Be mindful of your body language and facial expressions.
6. Be fully present, positive & open.
7. Actually talk to your audience! Interact & be approachable.
8. Position yourself as an expert.
9. Believe that the message you share matters.
10. Show up consistently & reliably.
I hope that helps you bridge the gap between you and your audience. If you would love to learn more – join my free FB group where I do weekly LIVE trainings like this. 🙂
And obviously, I’d love to hear your feedback so that I don’t feel like talking to crickets or tumble-weed… 😉