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Creating Group Rapport

Dec 18, 2007
Public speaking is hard. I remember starting out in this business, a business which necessitates a fair amount of public speaking, and before each big seminar I'd give, I would have huge anxiety for over a week prior to the event. My family would avoid me, even the dog knew not to interrupt me. Gearing up for events was chaotic and intense and only lead to a huge let down after the event (despite the event's success) because it was a huge release of energy.

Slowly my comfort with public speaking increased and i became more confident of the effect I was having on students and clients. Along the way I picked up some techniques to create an even faster rapport and ease in the process which is responsible for lessening by far, the anxiety and quickening, by far, the connection and cohesion.

There's one technique for creating an amazing group rapport which I use often. Simply, I imagine a shovel, like a huge snow shovel, as wide as the audience is and this shovel sits at the back of the room waiting for me to use it. The shovel (in my imagination) starts just over the tops of my audience and curves back around.

I imagine I am drawing energy through my feet and projecting it out through my eyes so it settles over the audience like a blanket gently resting on the tops of everyone's heads.

At the back of the room, the snow shovel catches this blanket of energy, whips it around as it comes to my feet, and hits a box which I imagine is sitting in front of me. I consider this box to be a filter.

What I'm doing is bringing in everyone's energy and filtering out the negativity. I don't want any intentional or unintentional negative energy to come to me unfiltered. So I see the energy flow into the box and come out completely clear.

The clear energy comes right up through my feet and out my eyes to the back of the room and starts all over again.

This will start out slowly and become increasingly faster until I can step aside and watch this process work itself through.

The energy begins to have a life of it's own and as I do my seminars, I let this process happen the entire time.

When I do trainings of 250, 300 people or more, it bonds the group like nothing I have ever seen.

Could this bonding have to do with what is coming out of my mouth? The word patterns? The language? The information? Yes. Of course. Could it be because we're all there for a common goal in our work together and in our shared experience of learning, curiosity and fun? Definitely. For me, as the speaker and teacher, this adds dramatically to what I do at the front of the room.

Consider this another frame or construct you can use when you work with big groups.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches techniques to earn the business of affluent clients using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion techniques.
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