Lessons from aboriginal culture on public speaking

AboriginesWhen you meet a traditional aboriginal person, the first thing that they will try to do is find a shared experience or common ground. Who do we know in common? Where have we both been? What have we both experienced? Tenuous links are fine, as long as they answer the big question: ‘how are we linked?’

Culturally, shared experiences are seen as vital to building rapport, not just within aboriginal culture, but cultures across the world too. Thousands of years of cultural development has led to one common outcome in cultures across the world – shared experiences always equal empathy, understanding and lay the groundwork for positive communication.

What does this mean for us when speaking in public, or delivering presentations?

Demonstrating that we have shared experience, that we are just like them, is key to building rapport with our audience and persuading them to believe our argument.

Next time you are struggling to find a way to build rapport or persuade your audience, simply look for a story to tell that shows exactly what it is that you both have in common – thousands of years of human cultural development can’t be wrong!

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Rich Watts is the UK Business Speaker of the Year and a past JCI National Public Speaking champion. He setup and now runs Rich Public Speaking providing presentation skills and public speaking training.

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