Speaking persuasively is more than finding the right words.
Having a well-structured argument built on strong foundations and facts is crucial. But you also need to know how to deliver that argument message. That’s the focus of this blog post.
Make first impressions count
You will make an impression before even opening your mouth to speak. In fact, all it takes is a few seconds. If people don’t like what they see, they’ll switch off without you saying a word.
Think about what your physical appearance says about you. Consider how you project yourself. One attribute that’s crucial to persuasive speaking is confidence. Stand upright and keep your arms by your side (not crossed). This will send the message ‘I’m confident and open.”
Rapport goes a long way to winning people over. It is all about making positive connections with other people. When you’ve built rapport, people think ‘Wow! You totally get me’ or ‘I understand where you’re coming from’. If people relate well to you, they are more likely to be persuaded by you.
There are several ways to establish rapport. Use language and examples that your audience understand. For instance, illustrate your argument with real life examples that make people think ‘Yes, that has happened to me’
Put your body to work
Your body language must work as hard as your voice when you’re presenting. First, keep your stance open. Hunching over, looking down or wringing your hands will tell your audience ‘I’m stressed up here.’
Second, use body language to illustrate your message. Use gestures and facial expressions to highlight your key points. Move about occasionally, but always come back to a central position in front of your audience. This says ‘I’m grounded.’
It’s not just about you
Many people think that to be persuasive they have to put themselves out there. Your credentials, experience and knowledge are important to gain trust. But at the end of the day a listener wants to know, ‘What’s in it for me?’ Make sure you tell them.
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