How can one person be such a persuasive speaker while another can’t seem to convince anyone to do anything? The Power of Persuasion is both art and science. Some people are born with the charisma that makes being persuasive easy…others, not so much. However, anyone can become more persuasive with the right approach. Anyone that can read, write or speak can influence others effectively.
What would it mean to your professional and personal life if you could reliably influence your audience? Few skills are as wide-ranging in their benefits.
Here are some tips for becoming a more persuasive speaker:
1. Create a connection
Whether you’re trying to influence one person or a thousand, it’s important to create rapport. A persuasive speaker knows how to establish a level of trust and connection with their audience. This will directly affect their ability to influence them. It is an important first step. There are many ways to establish this connection.
- Illustrate what you have in common. With the stories you tell, especially about yourself, show the audience that you are much like them, either now or in the past.
- Be honest and genuine. Authenticity is one of the top three characteristics of speakers for a reason. People want to know that you are sincere in your message.
- Show others that you can be trusted. You can do this in part with your authentic presence, but also with the stories you tell. When they ring true to your audience, you will be more trustworthy.
2. Be convincing
You might feel small and insecure, but presenting yourself that way won’t convince anyone that you are worth following. There are several ways we show a lack of conviction, such as body language, using qualifiers like “I think,” “probably,” “maybe” and “possibly,” and lack of eye contact.
- Stand tall and confident with good posture.
- Look your audience in the eyes.
- Present your opinion like it’s an obvious fact. Declare your words, rather than making them a question with an uptick.
3. Use reciprocity to your advantage
Studies show that you’re much more likely to return a favor after someone does something for you. That’s why the people that knock on your door and try to sell you vinyl siding give you a pen or a magnet. They know that you’ll be more likely to purchase from them.
- Do something for your audience. Provide value generously during your presenation.
4. Consider the interests of your audience
Even the noblest of people wonder what’s in it for them. Make it clear what they’ll be receiving from your offer or call to action.
- Illustrate how taking you up on your offer is in their best interests.
- Understand what your audience wants and give it to them.
- Create win-win-win scenarios.
5. Establish yourself as an authority
If you’ve spent time with the Dalai Lama and wrote three books on meditation, your opinions on meditation are more likely to be respected. Again, there are many ways to convey your authority to the audience.
- Provide the person who introduces you with a good introduction that sites your credentials in relation to your topic.
- Tell stories that illustrate your experience and expertise.
- Dress appropriately for your topic and your audience. You want to be dressed at least one level above your typical audience member. That could mean wearing a suit, but it doesn’t have to.
Persuasion is a highly researched field. There are numerous resources if you wish to learn more. Invest some time in practicing this valuable skill. You’ll be glad you did!