Do you know how to be persuasive? The second season of the Public Speaking Super Powers Podcast kicks off with host Carma Spence sharing persuasion tips.
When it comes to convincing people to buy into your point of view, you’ve got three basic options:
1. You can plead: Please believe what I say.
2. You can coerce: Believe what I say or some bad outcome.
3. Or You can persuade.
Today, I’m talking about the third one, because that’s usually your best bet. Pleading makes you weak. Coercion makes you a meany. And you don’t want to be a meany, because that doesn’t give lasting change anyway.
What are the things you need to do to become persuasive? I’m going to cover six different techniques and tips that you can use to be more persuasive in your presentations.
Persuasion Tip 1: Focus on what you would like to get across.
Persuasive people have a vision for the outcome. In fact, in the next episode, I’ll be interviewing Joel Schwartzberg and he’s going to be talking about “the point.” Your vision is the point of your presentation.
Once you’ve got this vision of where you want to lead your audience, you need to focus on that to help your audience move along from where they are to where you want them to be. For example, Mrs. Smith feels that there are too many roadkills on the road near her home. She feels that the speed limit has something to do with this. So she wants to convince people to lower the speed limit.
She visualizes fewer animals dying on the road but realizes that there will be no change in the death count if she doesn’t succeed. Although her motivation is animal preservation, her focus is on lowering the speed limit. Do you see the difference here? One is a result you want to get. The other is a way that you think will achieve that result. That’s what you’re trying to get across. Focus on that.
Persuasion Tip 2: Formulate your idea for a purpose.
If you can visualize your goal, then when you reach your goal you will be either a success or a failure. If you focus on the purpose of your goal, you can never fail. Because you’re always going to be moving toward that purpose. Which means, yeah, there might be roadblocks along the way. You may have challenges. Those aren’t endpoints. Those are milestones along the road.
At this point, I haven’t actually talked about anything that’s in the actual presentation. This is all prep work. First, you need to have that vision. And you need to understand what your focus is to achieve that vision. That’s what you can focus on in your presentation. And then you need to be able to formulate this idea you have in your head. For example, Mrs. Smith’s “the speed limit will help reduce road kills” idea. She’s going to focus on the speed limit. Now she needs to develop that technique into a purpose.
Let’s say Mrs. Smith’s purpose is to reduce road kills. OK? She’s going to say something to the effect that speed limits, if we reduce them, will end up with fewer road kills. But it will also result in these other benefits. Because you’re going to need to formulate this purpose so that it relates to your audience. And not everyone cares about whether animals die or not.
You also have to think about this as a purpose is different from a goal because a goal is fixed in time and space. For example, “I want to be a good speaker.” That’s a goal. Right? Or is that a purpose?
You can always get better as a speaker. I’m still getting better as a speaker. Am I perfect? No! But I’m getting better because I keep practicing and I keep moving toward becoming a better speaker. A goal is something is fixed in time and space. And yes, you may want to suggest goals in your presentation in order to persuade people. But what’s going to move them toward those goals is a greater purpose. Why do I want to achieve those goals?
Persuasion Tip 3: Have an idea of who you’re going to be talking to.
Like I just said, you need to know who your audience is in order to persuade them. For example, with Mrs. Smith, if she’s going to be talking to a group of animal lovers, then she can focus her presentation on the benefits that lowering the speed rate will have on reducing animal deaths.
But what if her audience doesn’t really care about animals? What if her audience cares more about children crossing the street? Or maybe they care more about the noise level in their neighborhood?
Then she needs to formulate her technique to get her goal, which is to reduce animal kills. The technique is to lower the speed rate. But now she needs to talk about lowering the speed rate in a way that her audience can understand. She can say, “You lower the speed rate. That will reduce noise in our neighborhood because people won’t be revving their engines.” Or, “Lowering the speed rate will help protect our children because our children are playing in the street. And when a car comes zooming around a corner they don’t have time to break. And our children’s lives are in danger.”
Always have your audience in mind when you’re formulating your persuasive speech.
Persuasion Tip 4: The next thing you need to think about is to speak with conviction.
You need to really believe in what you have to say. “I want the speed limit dropped because I believe it will make the world a better place.” If you’re going to say, “Well, you know, I think lowering the speed rate is a good idea, but ….” No one’s going to be persuaded if you are wishy-washy. You need to own your belief, your conviction in what you have to say. And speak with that conviction.
Persuasion Tip 5: Show determination and persistence.
How do you do that in a presentation? You’re going to repeat what you have to say in little different ways over and over again so that you drive your points home. In other words, you want to keep reiterating your point. But you want to do it in new and different ways so that you’re not obviously repetitive. Although sometimes there might be a small phrase that you want to repeat for emphasis.
Basically, what you’re doing is you’re showing that you are determined to convince your audience to at least give your ideas a chance. You want to be persistent in, even if there’s a hostile audience, you’re still going to make your point. You’re going to stand your ground. You’re going to speak with conviction. And you’re going to be persistent in communicating your conviction, your passion, your beliefs, your suggestions and opinions to your audience.
Persuasion Tip 6: Show people what they can do.
It’s all well and good to say, “Here are my wonderful ideas for making the world a better place.” But your audience needs to know what action you want them to take. You need to have a call to action.
SLet’s go back to Mrs. Smith. She wants to reduce the speed limit. What can the people in her audience do to help reduce the speed limit? Maybe they can write the city councilman. Maybe they can sign a petition that she has available. She needs to give them a specific action to take.
For example in this podcast, what action do I want you to take? What I’d like you to do is think about the six steps I’ve given you and see how you can apply them to your next presentation.
And that’s anywhere. There are different “presentations” that you can give in your life. For example, say you’re a guy who wants to ask out that cute girl in class. Well, you want to persuade her to go on a date with you. Right? Use these techniques to help persuade her to go on a date with you.
Husbands and wives can help persuade their spouse to their point of view. Again, doing using these techniques.
Let’s say you’re on a job interview. You want to persuade your potential employer to hire you. Or maybe you’re talking to your boss and you want to persuade your boss to give you a promotion. Or to implement the idea you have.
You see, persuasion is an excellent technique that is useful in all areas of our life.
If you want to learn more about persuasion, I recommend you check out the podcast from last season with Tim David, where he talks about the COMPEL method. It also provides different ideas on how you can persuade your audience.
Persuasion. Yes, it can be used for evil. But doesn’t have to be. We are persuading the people in our lives all the time. So, use these techniques and become a better persuader in your life and in your presentations.
Want to learn more about how to be persuasive?
Chapter 8 of Public Speaking Super Powers is devoted to the Power of Persuasion. You can grab your copy on Amazon at CarmaRecommends.com/pssp or wherever books are sold. It is available in ebook, paperback, and hardcover.