How Can You Work Persuasion Into Your Next Speech?

Persuasion is how speakers get audiences to take action
Persuasion is how speakers get audiences to take action
Image Credit: nealoneal

So why do you give speeches? Is it just to hear yourself speak? Is it because you understand the importance of public speaking? I suspect that the answer to this question is “no”. We give speeches because we have information that we want to share with an audience. Our goal for sharing this information is to persuade and influence them in order to get them to take some sort of action that we want to have accomplished. In order to make that happen, your audience is going to have to understand your message, accept it, and then act upon it. What you need to do is to learn how to speak persuasively. It turns out that there are a number of things that you can do while you are speaking that will make this happen.

It’s All About Trust

One of the most important things that a speaker has to realize is that if you want to persuade people, then trust is going to be a key factor in your ability to do this. If your audience does not trust you, then there is no way that you will be able to persuade them. Trust is the foundation of everything that you say and do. If you can convince your audience that they can trust you, then they will start to listen to what you have to say. They will consider your facts as being truthful and they will reach conclusions based on what you have told them. However, none of this will happen if your audience does not trust you.

People Like People Like Them

One of the very hard truths that speakers need to get used to is that if you want your audience to like you, then you are going to have to become more like them. A number of studies have been done that show that the people that we most like are the people who are the most like us. As a speaker this means that as you stand in front of your audience, you have to convince them that you are very much like them. This can be how you talk, the clothes that you wear, or the words that you use. It really doesn’t matter how you go about doing it, you just have to let your audience know that one of them is talking to them. If you can make this happen, then your chances of persuading them just got a whole lot better.

It’s All About Them

As speakers, when we are creating our speech we all tend to think about ourselves. We see the world from our point of view and that’s what we work into our speech. It turns out that when we are trying to persuade an audience, that’s a mistake. You will never be able to persuade an audience if you are focusing on your needs. What you need to do is to take the time to get into their shoes. You need to talk to your audience about their problems and once you do this you will have been able to get their attention. If you want to persuade them, then this is what you are going to have to do.

Give To Get

When we are giving a speech, we are probably hoping to be able to ask our audience to do something for us. If you want them to do something for you, then what you are going to need to do is to give them something. This can take a lot of different forms. We can do a favor for our audience, we can make a concession to them, or we can provide them with some sort of small gesture of consideration. If you do any of these, then what will happen is that your audience will feel compelled to do something for you. This is exactly what you want to have happen if you are trying to persuade an audience.

What People See Is Important

I sorta wish that this one was not valid, but it is. It turns out that your audience has a nasty habit of making judgements at first glance. What that means is that the moment that you want onto the stage, many of the people in the audience have already made up their minds as to if they are going to pay any attention to what you are going to be telling them. Note that they have to be listening to you if you want to have any hope of persuading them. As speakers we need to understand that our body language, our behavior, our character, our gestures, and, of course, our dress will all have a lasting impact on our ability to persuade our audience.

Confidence Wins

When we are giving a speech, we need to understand that our audience is going to be paying a great deal of attention to us. What this means is that we are going to have to be showing a great deal of confidence. No matter what we are talking about, we had better believe in what we are saying or else our audience is going to quickly detect that we are not being truthful with them and they will see our confidence slipping away. If, on the other hand, we truly do believe in what we are saying, then it will come though as both confidence and certainty and our audience will be able to detect it. When they see our belief, they will be more willing to be persuaded.

What All Of This Means For You

We all give speeches for a reason. We want our words to mean something. We want to be able to reach out, connect with our audience, share with the benefits of public speaking and get them to be persuaded to get up and take the action that we want them to take. In order to make this happen we need to understand what it takes to motivate and persuade an audience. If we can figure this out, then we will become powerful and effective speakers.

In order to persuade an audience we need to build a sense of trust with our audience. If we can get them to trust us, then we can persuade them to take action. People like people who are like them. This means that we have to become more like the members of our audience when we take the stage. Speakers need to understand that what our audience wants to hear is a speech about them – not about us. We need to be able to talk to them about their problems. In order to make our audience willing to be persuaded, we have to first give them something. How we look and how we act on the stage can cause our audience to either like or dislike us. If we truly believe in what we are saying it will come across as confidence and then our audience will be open to being persuaded.

Persuasion is a powerful tool that is available to all speakers. Getting an audience to agree to take some course of action is something that every speaker can make happen. We simply need to take the time to understand our audience and then use this understanding to motivate them to take the action that we want them to. This is not a hard thing to do. Use these suggestions to persuade your next audience to take the action that you want them to!

– Dr. Jim Anderson Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: If you don’t know your audience, what can you do to create a sense of trust between you?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

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