It's not just speaking ... when we speak to persuade.
Successful persuasion also lies in the ability to actively listen, even, and especially, in the field of public speaking.
Successful speaking to persuade relies on knowing your audience.
What are their needs and wants?
How are they thinking about your proposal?
What are they likely to favour about it?
What is going to stand in the way of them being persuaded?
What are their doubts?
What are their objections?
What are the obstacles to them moving forward with your suggestions?
Listen to them - before the presentation - survey them, talk to them, ask the event organiser about them - and listen.
Listen to them - during the presentation - ask them questions - and listen.
Successful speaking to persuade relies on seeing moments where you can gain agreement - maybe a comment or question from your audience, a situation from which you can draw an analogy, maybe a report back from a group discussion.
Listen for those and keep a line of thinking open that will allow you to use those moments to really amp up the energy of your speaking response.
Successful speaking to persuade relies on your being adaptable. It's one of the lessons I teach in my workshops and seminars on PowerPoint. Be prepared to change the course or direction of your presentation. If it seems that your audience puts value on one point or discussion over another, or if the feedback, comments or discussion suggests that a different direction would work best, then be prepared to change the structure of the presentation that you had prepared in advance.
This means that not only is your structure working for you. It also means that you are building trust. You care enough about your audience to change direction for them and you are confident enough in your material and your beliefs to change direction for them.
Listen, then, to their comments, to their suggestions and the tone of their discussions.
So I have covered three areas of listening that will build the success of your persuasive speaking - knowing your audience, watching for opportunities to ramp up the energy and being adaptable.
Do you use any other listening techniques to successfully persuade?
Author: Bronwyn Ritchie is an outcomes-driven, award-winning speaker and mentor, a story strategist at Pivotal Story Solutions and publisher at Pivotal Magazine. She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. Want a boost to your confident, effective speaking success? Click here for Bronwyn's FREE 30 speaking tips. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com or visit her website Pivotal Public Speaking
Who are you?
If someone wants to know who you are, they type your name into Google.
Before the meeting, you have been googled.
Before the interview, you have been googled.
Before the pitch, you have been googled.
What is Google saying about you?
What did you give Google to say about you?
It's an interesting exercise to Google oneself ... interesting and sometimes surprising!!
Right there is a little window into how people might be seeing you.
That is the story people are seeing and reading about you - your personal brand story, your business brand story.
Did Google put it there? No. But Google chose which parts of it to put in front of searchers as the first thing they saw.
Did other people put it there? Yes. Your clients comment on your business and connect with you. Your friends comment on you and connect with you. You listed yourself on other websites, and commented or interacted there.
So to some extent, this is happening without you.
Consider, though ...
You gave your clients something to comment on. What was that?
You connected with them. What impression did that give?
You gave your friends something to comment on. What was that?
You connected with them. What impression did that give?
You associated yourself with other websites. What impression does that give?
My mother said to me often and often, "Put your words on the palm of your hand before you say them."
She probably said that as I grew into a teenager with attitude, and not much thought for what I said, or what the consequences might be.
Everything communicates, especially words, but actions too.
So everything we do on the internet communicates something and it's not always what we might expect.
Google, and the internet as a whole, gives us an unparalleled opportunity to communicate, to share and to build a brand, and there is nothing so challenging, nor so rewarding as to to watch that brand build and grow.
Author: Bronwyn Ritchie.
If you would like help telling your story on-line, please contact me. I have a "Connecting the Dots" programme that helps my clients find the story they need to tell.
While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life changing experiences that you hear other people talk about. You know, the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly? Well, this one occurred a mere two feet away from me!
Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jetway, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.
First, he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, and movingly loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, diverted his eyes, and replied softly, "Me too, Dad!"
Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe 9 or 10) and while cupping his son's face in his hands he said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug. His son said nothing. No reply was necessary
While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one and a half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi babygirl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder and remained motionless in total pure contentment.
After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last!" and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed, "I love you so much!" They stared into each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. For an instant, they reminded me of newlyweds but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't be. I puzzled about it for a moment, then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I were invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married?"
"Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those," he replied without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face. "Well then, how long have you been away?" I asked. The man finally looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile and told me, "Two whole days!"
Two days?! I was stunned! I was certain by the intensity of the greeting I just witnessed that he'd been gone for at least several weeks, if not months, and I know my expression betrayed me. So I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!"
The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with an intensity that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don't hope friend...decide." Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!" With that, he and his family turned and energetically strode away together
I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, "What'cha looking at?" Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!"
Michael D. Hargrove
© Copyright 1997 by Michael D. Hargrove. All rights reserved. Used with author's permission. Visit Michael's website at: www.bluinc.com