Rapport Building Techniques for Trainers and Presenters

Rintu BasuPresentations, Training5 Comments

This article looks at a simple but powerful way of getting your audience to hang on your every word. It doesn’t matter how small or large the group this technique correctly applied will work every time.

Opening the Loop

Here is a short clip from an upcoming Hypnotic Presentation Skills Course where I “open a loop” with the audience. This is a really effective way of getting people desperately wanting to listen to you. Have a watch and then let me explain how it works.

The place to learn how to do this technique is to watch TV serials. My favourite is a programme called Doctor Who. The current version of the show works differently but it is the oldest running SciFi TV Series and it has been running for 50 years. In the classic version of the show it would be one story told over several twenty five minute episodes.

Every episode would build to a cliff hanger ending where the heroes of the story would be trapped in an impossible to escape from situation and facing certain death, doom and disaster. This was to hook people in to coming back next week to see what happens.

Giving Your Audience What They Want

My business version of this process is to tell people the benefit of doing what I want them to do. I have a sophisticated process that I use in training situations to get the audience to explore the benefits of learning what I am about to train them in and then publically committing to wanting those benefits for their own reasons.

What this does for me is build massive amounts of rapport because the audience sees me as helping them to get to their goals.

If I were to deconstruct this process down to a few steps it would be:

  1. Find out what your audience wants in relation to what you want to give them.
  2. Make the connection between what you will give them to what they want.
  3. Get the audience to imagine getting the results from your material
  4. Get the audience to explore why this is important for them (you could tell them if you don’t have time…but getting them to explore and examine the benefits for themselves is very powerful)
  5. Seal the commitment from both sides, “If I do (x) will you do (y) for the good of all of us?”

eg. You will get this massive benefit from the course as you have just said. In order to get there we will need to work quite hard so can I get your commitment to staying focused for the whole course.

But There is More Going on in that Video

There is more going on. I am just about to go through two tools in some depth. The first is obviously the structure to a presentation just as I tell them in the video. The second is how to open loops like this.

I’m doing this as obviously as I can so we can refer back to it when I teach them the skill openly but I want it to be covert enough for them to suddenly realise it works on them when we get to talk about it.

In terms of my own process, I have also bypassed it a little in that I already know all the motivations of the group and how much they would like this set of skills. So all I have to do explain it a little and they would all be roped in.

One thing I have found in the years of applying this technique is that I get better results if I start with something completely implausible and add some things in to make it achievable.

In this case, I tell them they could use the structure to deliver presentations when they don’t know the subject matter. I quickly follow this up with some caveats that make it possible.

I learnt to do this when I was selling my sales training courses. I would often get results of 50% or more as a result of the courses I was running. But I found it hard to sell. This was because the people I was selling to didn’t believe it was achievable. If they didn’t believe it was possible from the outset I would have a hard job getting them to even look at the evidence I had to say it was possible.

When I switched to saying 20% increase more people would buy the course because it felt more achievable.

But the best results I got came when I told them that the last company I worked with increased their sales by 50% but that was because of a set of preconditions (which I have already worked out are present in the company that I am talking to) and I will only commit to 20%.

For my advanced students feel free to leave a comment below explain why that works so much better than either of the first two.

Does the Presentation Skill Structure Work?

Here is a clip of the start of the debrief one of the student’s presentations from the course:

For extra marks notice my last question. Obviously, again I am deliberately being obvious because we covered presuppositional questioning earlier but ask yourself what has to be true for Thomas for him to be able to answer the question.

Can I get on this course?

Hypnotic Presentation Skills Deconstructed is a restricted course because I coach people individually once they have been through the material. At the time of writing there are some spaces left on the course. Click through and find out more here:






5 Comments on “Rapport Building Techniques for Trainers and Presenters”

  1. Dante

    Prepositional questioning video –


    I spotted several things in this short video, but very powerful!

    Unlike lots of presentations I’ve been to, whereby the presenter spends lots of time talking, you seem to interact lots with the group, which I believe creates massive amounts of rapport with the group and individuals. Let me explain how I believe it works within this video clip.

    It starts of with you actively listening to the persons process, then use the pattern, “let me just check that I understand you.” First of all by actively listening to the person they feel that you are really listening and taking an interest in them, secondly by asking to check with them you understand it tells them you are genuinely interested in them and their ideas! Massive rapport building! Thirdly, you paraphrase their own words back to him – people like people, who are like them. Rapport building again.

    1) active listening
    2) asking to just check you understand them
    3) paraphrasing their language back at them.

    Referring to point 3 – I believe it is so powerful because even if you don’t understand the person, by paraphrasing their language it gives them the illusion that you do. There are loads of Cialdini’s principles in here. People like to feel and be understood, liking, social proof, plus it confirms their reality of how they see themselves. This is how cults get people to join – they make people feel understood.

    As the person starts to make a negative point about about his presentation (I think? Can’t hear to well because of the clapping). You pattern interrupt his negative train of thought. Pattern: I’ve finished/done with that.

    You then follow up with, “what else is good about your presentation?” This presupposes that there are good elements in his presentation. What this does – Rintu you are a authority figure – by you saying this he will automatically, most likely subconsciously accept your suggestion without consciously knowing it! Very sneaky stuff! Then by giving you other reasons why it was good, it is confirming his believes around presenting!

    His outcomes: his criteria – achieved 🙂

    Your outcome(s): the best course he has ever attended – achieved 🙂

    Fantastic Rintu! All in just 44 secs – I can’t even begin to imagine what must be in your course. Can’t wait!

    1. Rintu Basu


      Nailed it almost completely…well done. The thing I would add is on your point 3 I am partly paraphrasing and partly reframing what they said.

      You don’t get to see what they actually said so that is why you can’t really pick it up. But what I do is take the bare bones of what they said and used that pattern to give them back a reframed version that is showing them what they have done in the best possible light.

      And it was a great result BTW. I was really astounded at how good the presentation was compared with how little time and effort he had put in to get it.



    2. Dante

      Hi Rintu,

      Thanks 🙂 I really intrigued by taking peoples’ answers and partly reframing them to feed it back in the best possible light. Is this all deconstructed in the new course?


      1. Rintu Basu

        Yes and I am sure it is a lot of other material of mine that you have.

        The pattern is just, “Let me see if I understand what you have just said…” and then either start with what they have said but shift it as you go to what you want them to hear – or, hit them with a reframe of what they just said.

        In this example Thomas said more or less that he made it up based on the model that I showed him. I just wanted him to know how big a deal that was…and more specifically I wanted the rest of the audience to know that it was a big deal.

        It is just an adaptation of a straight forward pace and lead pattern.

        Hope that helps.


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