Intimacy Isnt Just Victorias Secret

What is it about some people that makes you want to open up to them, and with whom you feel really comfortable? These people, almost miraculously it seems, are able to develop an intimate bond with anyone. Think Oprah.

Although some people do have a natural affinity for creating intimacy with audiences, co-workers, friends and family, I believe it is something that can be learned. Our Excellence in Speaking Institute course gets you started down the road to intimacy and our ESI-Advanced program focuses on some of the key tools you need to truly harness the power of intimacy.

Let’s go back to Oprah, the queen of intimacy, to see how she does it.

Vulnerability is one key to building intimacy. Oprah, for example, will often tell some very personal anecdote that gives you a glimpse inside. By opening up this way, she has figuratively said, “I trust you.” Extending this offer of trust makes her guest want to do the same. It’s human nature.

Oprah really listens to her guests, and active listening is the foundation for creating intimacy. How does she exhibit that she is listening? She leans in toward the guest. She nods, smiles or otherwise acknowledges that she is hearing the guest.

She might restate a key point the guest has made to make it clear she understands the person’s point of view. She withholds judgment, even if she doesn’t agree with that point of view. All of this is done in order to rapidly establish rapport with her guests. She seems able to do this even with guests of whom she is asking tough questions.

Using intimacy is not just for TV personalities and public speakers. It is a tool that can improve a salesperson’s business, an employee’s relationships at work, and a parent’s communication efforts with their kids.

You can develop the skills that allow you to create intimacy. It just takes a little practice and the willingness to really listen to what others have to say.

Ty Boyd, CEO of Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems (, is in the Broadcast Hall of Fame and the Speakers Hall of Fame. He has taught presentation skills to Fortune 1000 executives in more than 34 countries. His Excellence In Speaking Institute celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2005.