In our work, we are often asked to help a client prepare for a specific speech or presentation.
When working, we often tend to focus on the body of the material itself. For example, with a speech we may look at what our opening line will be, how we hold ourselves throughout the speech, what is the killer last line. These things are of course very important, but I think its worth taking a moment to think about what else we can do to create a connection and build rapport before we begin with the speech.
I present workshops at The School of Life and participants are welcomed to the classroom 20 minutes before the work actually begins. I find is that this is fantastic opportunity for me to build rapport with the participants from the moment they step foot into the building. Alongside resulting in a warm, welcoming environment for the participants, it means they have made a connection to me before I utter a word of the workshop.
Sometimes we can be fearful speaking to people directly. Although presenting it has its own anxiety inducing effects, making a speech does logistically create separation between you and the audience. However this divide also means we will have to create that connection via the speech itself. If you have made your introductions beforehand, you have already taken away a great deal of the work in getting your audience connected to you and in turn, open to listening to what you have to say.
I would encourage you to try this for yourself. Next time you have a meeting or making a presentation, spend a few minutes greeting everyone individually with a handshake or smile beforehand and see if it makes a difference.