Did you ever have a concept crystal clear in your brain? And when you went to say it aloud, it came out nothing like you’d prepared in your head?
Were you ever in a situation where things got a bit confrontational, and you just clammed up? But then, a few hours later, you realized what you should’ve said?
Do you ever feel like you talk too fast, use too many filler words, your pitch gets high & tight? Or (gasp!) you use upspeak?
How about you’re talking to your best friend, describing the things you’re going to say to the venture capitalist, and she says, “OMG! You’re going to do so great on Shark Tank!” Then you get there, and you’re stammering all over the place?
Are all of these unhelpful occurrences a mystery? Can we do something about them?
Persuasive communicators learned the techniques.
Then there are those folks who seem to always know exactly what to say. They speak smoothly and concisely. They don’t get emotional and they can almost always turn a bad situation around.
They speak well in meetings and everyone follows their call to action. Their ideas are incredible! You had the same idea but it came out a bit like jibberish.
They are awesome public speakers. They are just as compelling and concise up on stage as they are everywhere else!
It’s no surprise that they can deliver bad news with aplomb.
Of course, they discovered the techniques to be excellent communicators! That’s how they learned how to be persuasive.
The stakes of a situation.
First, take into consideration whether a situation is high-stakes or low-stakes. You’ll notice a difference in the way you run a team meeting (low-stakes) and how you report to your boss (high-stakes.)
Did you ever notice you perform better in low-stakes scenarios? If you’re ordering coffee or chatting with the doorman on our way into the building, there are no or low stakes. So there’s no stammering or garbling up your words. You’re as smooth as silk!
But when you report to the CEO, that’s an entirely different story. The stakes can be pretty high, and now you’re as smooth as burlap! No one wants that!
How to be a persuasive communicator in 15 minutes
Here we’ll go over some top tips to help you begin your journey to becoming a persuasive communicator. Click through the links for more intensive learning.
- Establish & prepare your key message(s).
- Learn to be habitually relaxed.
- Stop robotic speech.
- Use perfect rhythm.
- Master your body language so that you have control over it.
- Use eye contact at least 80% of the time.
- Use an authoritative yet warm voice.
- Be concise and use active wording.
Establish & prepare your key messages.
For some reason, people think that words should come out of their mouths without any preparation.
Remember, though, that the act of taking the crystallized concepts in your brain and making them come out of your mouth so that people are profoundly impacted is not a 1-step process. It requires training. Here’s how to speak clearly.
People who have their elevator pitches nailed down didn’t just say it right then off-the-cuff. They developed it and practiced it. They assessed and revised.
People who can easily deliver their message to the CEO concisely and persuasively spend time developing those skills.
You can achieve this if you spend 15 or 20 minutes each day for 2-4 weeks.
Persuasive people practice the techniques.
First, record yourself and self-assess. Listen back and write down a new and improved version of your message. Then practice alone; once you’ve achieved mastery, then practice with other people. Do this for 6 minutes every day for two to four weeks.
How to Improve Your Speaking Skills
You’ll achieve success quicker if you can let go of your old beliefs about communicating and don’t avoid recording yourself. There’s nothing more important for your personal and professional success than becoming a persuasive, warm, and confident communicator.
So if you avoid recording yourself, you’re not investing in yourself. Don’t make me come over there!
Learn to be habitually relaxed
The most influential people are incredibly relaxed as a habit. They didn’t get that way without making a significant conscious effort.
Many people suggest “warm-ups.” Warm-ups are cute, but they don’t train you to relax as a learned behavior. The Voice Spa online video course will teach you to be habitually relaxed.
Do the relaxation exercises for 6 minutes, twice per day for two weeks. And you’ll be completely comfortable during even the most stressful communications. This is the first step to becoming a persuasive communicator.
Stop robotic speech & use perfect rhythm.
Most voice and diction coaches will have you talking like a robot in no time. They tell you to pop all of your Ts, carefully pronounce each letter.
Guess what? Our brains don’t process robotic speech very well. Sure, we can understand a few simple sentences, but we need to use rhythm–varied intonation patterns in complex conversations. Not that you want to talk like a robot, even for a few simple sentences.
Only when people are easily processing our messages can we be highly persuasive. Using a varied intonation pattern will make you highly compelling. Follow the directions in the link above for 6 minutes per day. I know if you’re counting, you’ve got to 18 minutes, but you can do the intonation practice while you’re practicing the other steps!
You don’t have to do this alone! We are here for you! Scroll down to the blue box at the bottom of the page to get right into the calendar for a free consultation! We’ll listen to you and give you direction. There are many options!
Master your body language
Most of us are running around with absolutely no control over our body language. We bring our hands to our faces when we feel surprised or emotional; we cross our arms and legs when we feel defensive; our shoulders rise when we feel insecure or nervous; the list goes on.
Most of these things our bodies do are a result of stress and fight or flight. Once we perceive stress, we begin to go into fight or flight, causing our breathing to be vertical, and we lose access to our prefrontal cortexes. The prefrontal cortex is essentially your beautifully organized file cabinet.
Follow the instructions in this Body Language Fixes You Need Now article for the same 6 minutes you are doing your other practice.
Use an authoritative yet warm voice.
Most people hate the sound of their own voice and don’t know that they can change it. Most people speak with a voice hindered by physiological tension, causing their voices to be thinner and harsher than they were naturally designed to be.
Then they go ahead and use upspeak so they can try to sound “nice.” Please don’t shoot for nice in your voice! It most often ends up sounding condescending and unclear. Not the look you’re going for.
Follow these steps for 6 minutes per day for just a few weeks: How to Improve the Sound of Your Voice.
If you are serious about making these changes, you can follow along with me in The Voice Spa. It’s an awesome video course that takes you step-by-step techniques to being perfectly relaxed, using an authoritative and magnetic voice, and being concise and persuasive. if you put the time in you won’t believe the results!
Be concise and use active wording.
Combine this with Establish and Prepare Your Message. Get rid of all superfluous wording. “Good morning, everyone, and thank you all for coming to the presentation” is one of the most boring and non-essential messages ever spoken.
Eliminate things like “As I said before…” Not only is there no need for wasted words, but it’s condescending. Persuasive communicators are never condescending.
You can go deeper into how to be more concise by clicking this link.
Your Persuasive Communicator Homework
Find three blocks of 5 or 6 minutes per day and set a reminder. One can be before your morning meeting or before breakfast.
Open the recording app on your phone:
- Record yourself saying something you need to say at your next meeting.
- Then listen to it and revise it in written format.
- Take out passive language & redundancies.
- Practice your edited version by reading it using your new voice into your recorder.
- Relentlessly assess yourself. (practice + self-assessment make perfect.)
- Master your speech blurb without reading it.
- Apply it to your life.
Remember, you’re only doing a few minutes at a time. Don’t expect to get this into your life until you’ve mastered simpler communicative situations. Master your food and beverage orders before you work on asking your boss for a raise.
Take some minisessions with me for help getting this into your life.
What Characteristics Make a Person Persuasive?
I asked this question on Twitter for a bit of crowd sharing. What do the people think?
Here’s what we got:
I love all of these!
Mike Flanagan underscores the importance of listening skills and being calm & credible. So listening means to keep quiet and focus only on what the speaker is saying, without thinking about what you’re going to say next.
Being calm, Mike’s spot on. I’m always talking about relaxation exercises and how to remain in your relaxed place. And guess what? That’s how you appear credible.
Pioneering how hospitality…also nails it. I especially like the integrity part, because I haven’t mentioned that! Yes! Integrity! Being honest and having strong principles is definitely a characteristic of a persuasive leader! Thank you, friend 🙂
Roumen, I love this! Eyes & smiles that are bright & contain love. Posture and gestures–spot on! And of course, knowing your material inside and out.
Carol Levine crushes it. What else can I say? 🙂
David Phillips, I think I know what you mean, someone who isn’t underhanded and trying to accomplish his own motives, but just getting the job done as best he can. Thanks!
I love this, too, Rodel Ituralde. I’m a very big fan of sincerity. (Except when needing to tell little white lies that don’t hurt anyone–like if someone asks you if you like their haircut…)
And, yes, believing in your message is of the utmost importance. One of the ways to be persuasive is to really master your core messages. Come to me, I can help with that!
Thank you all for your beautiful and helpful perspectives. I’m on a mission to help people become clear, confident, and persuasive communications.
8 thoughts on “How to Become a Persuasive Communicator in 15 Minutes”
This article is brilliant! Thank you!
I heart Colin!
I really needed to read this. Very well written, thanks.
I don’t know why I never think of practicing everyday! But you are right, if I really want to become a persuasive communicator, I actually have to put the work in (not just cram in memorising a presentation the night before).
Very generous all of this information. And insightful.
It’s something I never considered. I never thought I could change those things about myself. And I never equated breathing and the way I speak to persuasion. But of course, the more persuasive people do exactly what you describe.
Persuasion is the key to any successful career. All your tips from mastering my key message to avoiding robotic speech, maintaining rhythm to mastering body language are gems, but the most effective one for me was ‘the homework’. As painful as it was at first, this technique helped me a lot and allowed me to listen to myself and identify my own flagged areas. It feels like sitting with yourself on the other side of the table. It’s so effective that I am doing it everyday. Thank you!
Read this twice , and I’m still stuck on Learn to be habitually relaxed. Relaxing is not me , im super charged until I begin my presentation i go into bubble but if you listen to my heart is breaking the speed limit. Definately need to take this tip to heart.
Persuasion is a vital skill. Thanks for the detailed information/tips. Keep up the good work.