Sharpening that Persuasive Edge
– 3 Simple Steps to Start Speaking Convincingly
Being a persuasive speaker is one of the more common goals of our students. Almost everyone wants to be that person who can convince a team or a large audience to buy into their product or anything that they are saying. It is not difficult to see why. Persuasion is fast becoming a specific aspect of public speaking and communications skills that the modern company is looking out for in 2019. For example, a LinkedIn study using their data ranked “Persuasion” as one of the top soft skills that companies would need in 2019.
Even putting aside these statistics, persuasion as a skill set is profoundly relevant both in the professional context and your day-to-day conversations (persuading someone to give you a 10% discount, anyone?). Its versatility and applicability make it an attractive skill to invest your time and energy in developing as well.
How then do you become more persuasive? Persuasion is not about being dramatic or theatrical. As simple as that sounds, many of our students start with the misconception that they do not have the requisite ‘drama skills’ or ‘gift of the gab’ to be a powerful and persuasive speaker. In reality, persuasion builds on foundational public speaking or communications crafting skills to ensure that you are not just a gimmick, but a persuasive speaker backed with substance. Let me share three quick tips on how you can start framing yourself as a persuasive speaker.
Tip #1: Be Simple and Straightforward – No One Likes a Complicated Treasure Map
Many speakers I have observed love jargon – peppering their speeches with complicated and complex words in attempting to sound credible. The effect is far from this. If your audience members do not understand what you are talking about, the persuasion process cannot even start. I find myself being riveted by speeches that are simple, straightforward and direct to the point. These are speeches that provide me with a clear roadmap on how to navigate the various parts of the speech, and I am more likely to be swept up by the flow of the speech.
To achieve this, start by scanning your speech or presentation script to derive the main points of your speech/presentation. These main points are usually the topic statements within the main body of your speech. When extracted and separated, these topic statements will form your skeletal logical flow which you can study for coherence. The test is simple – the overall effect of your speech should be as clear as your skeletal logical flow. Your speech is the map to the treasure you are offering to your audience, and no one likes a complicated treasure map.
Tip #2: Be Relevant – Create a Reason for the Audience to Listen to You
(continue)…should I listen?!” – Your Audience
Give your audience a purpose or reason for listening to your speech or your message. By this, we do not mean showcasing your achievements or showing off your credentials. Instead, adopt an audience-centric approach by framing your speech as a solution to a universal problem. For example, instead of placing the message or product you are selling at the outset, emphasise the relevant “Why?” to your message. By doing so, you start by identifying and addressing your audience’s needs directly.
Part of persuasion is the ability to keep your audience engaged from the start to the end of your speech. This requires meaningful engagement by encouraging your audience members to think critically about your message and digest the same. Your ultimate goal is to give them a reason why your speech message is significant to them.
Tip #3: Be Vocal – Explore Vocal Variety for Emphasis through Volume, Pace and Tone
*** In our case, vocal variety is not for crooning…but to make your audience swoon over what you said 😉 ***
While there is no need to be over-dramatic in delivering a persuasive speech, experimenting with pauses, volume or even pace will help drive your point home. Your objective is not to reach for the extremes but to modulate effectively between them. For example, having a pause before a keyword or key message re-focuses the audience’s attention back to you. They will wait in anticipation for your message!
Emphasis is particularly useful for your topic statements or a succinct catchphrase for the audience to buy into. You will be surprised at how fast the audience will warm up to you just by modifying your volume, pace and even tone.
Overall – Keep Practising your Persuasion!
Persuasion is, of course, tempting in theory but challenging in execution. In your attempts to arrive at the winning formula, you are bound to encounter a low-energy or non-reactive audience. Push through these setbacks, reinvent your execution and energise your presentation once more in your next attempt. The three tips above may just help you ace that high-stakes business or boardroom presentation!
Public Speaking Academy’s courses for kids, and for adults (SkillsFuture credits eligible), both have “Persuasive Speaking” as an essential module/ topic; we believe that imparting persuasive speaking skills to our learners is key for them to communicate what they want in life and GET what they want in life!
As such, if learning how to speak persuasively and impactfully is one of your upskilling/ personal developmental goals, feel free to check out our offerings below!
For more about Public Speaking Courses for Kids/ Children:
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