Persuasion. Do you know how to make your point or solution persuasive? Persuasive message are every where. During elections we are bombarded with persuasive message to vote for a certain candidate, when looking for a job you try to be persuasive to be hired, commercials try to persuade us to buy a certain product. Persuasion is one of those topics that all of us need. At work you may want a raise, be promoted, be put on a special task force or team, get more flextime, or be re-located.
As a multi-award winning speaker and more importantly a multi-award winning speaking coach, I think it is important to know that you can make your communication and presentations more persuasive. With the right strategies you can land that perfect job, get that promotion, or convince the executive team that your proposal should be accepted. Let me share with you a few persuasive principles and strategies.
Top Practices To Be More Persuasive
1. Clarify the Goals of Your Persuasion
Persuasion is very different than speaking to inform or educate someone. You are more likely to run into resistance. So, be crystal clear on your specific goal (s) of your message. Whether you are trying to change a behavior or influence another…. your goal … what it is and what it is not must be clear in your mind. There are 4 basic goals to adopt ( for example -to buy a certain product), continue ( to keep doing something) , stop (to discontinue doing something) , or avoid (deterrence). You need to know your goal.
2. Select your Approach
A persuasive approach is built on one of three basic forms. Are you going to use facts and data to build your message? Are you going to use values, that the goal is good or bad, wise or foolish, just or unjust? Or are you going to use policy, which advocates a that you should or should not follow a certain course of action. By knowing your approach to the persuasive message will help you put your information together.
3. Know Your Audience
It is important to adjust your message based on your audience. Is your specific audience favorable to your message, neutral, or hostile toward your massage? A message for a group that already agrees with you looks much different than a message for a group that dislikes your product, service or message.
4. Organize Your Information for Impact
While there are a number of organizational formats (Monroe’s Motivated Sequence is my personal favorite). As a general rule place your strongest points first and last, with your weakest points in the middle. Sometimes it is advisable to deal with opposing arguments within your message. Lastly, be clear on your Call To Action. What is it you want the listener to do?
5. Avoid Fuzzy Thinking and Irrelevant Claims
Propaganda types of messages may short circuit your audience. For example … No “Name Calling”, such derogatory words diminish your credibility. No “Card Stacking”… using only the selected facts that bolster a specific position… this biased position makes all your information questionable. Other questionable tactics include: “snob appeal” and ” Jump on the Bandwagon.. everyone is doing it.” Such persuasive appeals distract listeners from the important issues and make you look less than professional, and less trustworthy.