Can you speak persuasively when you need it most? So you’re awesome at telling your friends your great idea, but when it comes to speaking persuasively to your team & your boss, it doesn’t come out quite as mellifluously, does it? Not exactly the oration it sounded like in your head, is it?
You’re great at telling your mom or your bestie about yourself, but during a job interview, it just doesn’t sound as influential, does it? A little bit of stuttering here & there? Drawing a blank? Too many “um”s? Talking too fast?
Learn the techniques to speaking persuasively.
I’ve got you. No one was born an incredible communicator. Excellent communicators have learned the skills along the way.
Are you aware of the different persuasive speaking techniques? Having proficiency in these techniques could seriously change your career. With less formal presentation and more focus on compelling and persuasive content, you can now deliver your message in a way that is both an engaging experience for the audience and incredibly effective in achieving your goals.
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The Department of Communications at the University of Pittsburg defines “Persuasive Speaking” as
Persuasive speaking is the type of speaking that most people engage in the most. This type of speech can involve everything from arguing about politics to talking about what to eat for dinner. Persuasive speaking is very connected to the audience, as the speaker must, in a sense, meet the audience halfway.
We’ve established a difference between how persuasive you are during comfortable situations vs. the ones where something can actually come of it. We’ve established that 1. you’re not alone & 2. there are good reasons for this.
But now, let’s do something about it! These are not things you have to live with! Let’s get you super cool & persuasive when you need it most.
You already have incredible skills in your profession. How would it feel to have another advantage in this competitive corporate world?
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Persuasive Speaking Techniques
Read on for more detail, but here are the techniques you need to be a persuasive speaker in a nutshell.
- Relax every muscle in your body, especially the vocal mechanism.
- Prepare until you don’t have to prepare anymore–doesn’t take as long as you think.
- Use pauses.
- Speak on the exhale & don’t forget to breathe!
- Use a varied intonation pattern & don’t confuse intonation with pitch.
- Self-assess & measure your success.
Read on for more detail! You can & will be a persuasive speaker!
Persuasive Communicators are Relaxed
Find out what relaxes you & make sure you’re doing these things regularly. For me, it’s going for a walk, listening to music, going for a walk while listening to music, gardening & doing my relaxation exercises. The ones that keep me habitually relaxed before & during every communicative situation.
Being relaxed is the foundation for you to be able to speak persuasively.
Make a List & Prepare Your Message
You don’t have to do this forever! You have to do it a few times in each category in which you want to improve.
Then speaking persuasively becomes a habit.
Make a list of the areas you want to be more persuasive & get more out of life. Is it when you meet new people? At meetings when you spew your genius? Dating? Interviews? Giving a speech? Your elevator pitch?
Record yourself saying what you might say during those times & relentlessly assess yourself. Don’t be in denial like the folks on Kitchen Nightmares.
You’re not perfect at communicating in anxiety-ridden situations-none of us are. So figure out precisely what you’re doing wrong & fix it. Practice doesn’t make perfect unless it’s paired with self-assessment & improvement.
Add Pauses & Linking to Your Newly Designed Message
To speak persuasively, you need to add pauses and link your words together. You may not have to slow down your rate of speech as much as you think. Timing and pauses help your listener be in the present with you.
Remember, when you’re speaking, you’re usually thinking of the next thing you’re going to say. Your listener is still processing the last thing you said. Input your pauses correctly & you’ll both be in the present. There’s something magical about that.
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Magic sauce to speaking persuasively? Intonation.
Did you ever notice your friend speaks normally and sounds good during normal speech, but when put on the spot or needing to prove himself he starts to get choppy? Staccato?
That’s because when the stakes are high and fight or flight kicks in your prefrontal cortex shuts down and your throat closes up. Resulting in staccato speech among other egregious errors.
So after you learn to be completely relaxed and breathe you must add intonation to your arsenal of persuasion.
Here’s the trick:
Make the important words longer and louder and the unimportant words shorter & quieter.
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Try it a few times on your own with the recorder. Then try to record your side of a real conversation with others while you’re telling your stories. Of course, relentlessly assess!
Be hard on yourself because your message matters. Learning to speak persuasively is not about manipulating people; far from it. You can only be truly persuasive when you believe in your message, but that tends to be when your nerves are at their worst.
So keep your purpose in mind when you’re struggling to listen to yourself on a recording to help you push through the awkwardness (I know, we all sound so weird to ourselves when recorded).
Measure Your Success
The only way to make changes in our habits is to start by analyzing the habit itself. If you want to improve your tennis game, it’s a good idea to have your pro video record you and then point out what’s going wrong with your swing or your footwork. Then, step by step you make improvements.
Unless tennis is your career, communicating persuasively is a much more important skill to improve because it stands to make you a lot more money. Warren Buffet says that improving your communication skills is going to earn you half a million more dollars over your lifetime.
So yes, record yourself. Then practice the above techniques looking for incremental improvements. You’re not going to go from 0-100 right off the bat. (Trying to convince my 7-year-old of that!) Measure in increments of 10% each time you tell your story.
When I say “relentlessly assess”, do it objectively like a scientist. Assess your errors but just as importantly, look at what you’re doing right and watch it continually improve with each story you tell.
Like any other goal, you must define it & set up a step-by-step process to get there. Measure your success along the way & in a matter of weeks, you’ll be getting what you need out of life in the most rewarding areas of your life.
Put your money where your mouth is.
You can just let me do this for you. Investing in your communication skills is beyond worth it. Imagine yourself comfortable in every environment, people hanging on to your every word, being sought after for jobs instead of applying and interviewing.
Contact us now!
1 thought on “Persuasive Speaking: How to Nail it When You Need it Most”
Sometimes I feel like the least persuasive person on the planet. Thank goodness for these amazing tips and examples of how to pull one’s audience in.