Success in business can depend largely on your power to persuade others. Your persuasive powers can convince prospects to buy your products or services, your employees to tow the corporate line, financial institutions to fund new ventures, and vendors and suppliers to provide preferred pricing and services.
Good verbal communications are at the heart of every persuasive presentation, whether addressing a small group or an entire convention hall.
For some people, good communications skills seem to be a natural talent they were born with. Others are fairly comfortable addressing small groups but become panic-stricken at the thought of public speaking before a large audience.
The fact is, most persuasive public speakers have honed their skills over the years – either through formal or informal training. Persuasive public speaking is a skill that must be learned.
Here are six tips to help you become a more confident, more persuasive public speaker.
Define Your Goal
Before making any presentation, identify on the ultimate goal of your speech. Exactly what is it that you want your audience to think or do? How will the information you’re sharing with them help them to accomplish that goal?
Commit Your Presentation to Memory
Whenever possible, memorize your presentation word-for-word. Once you begin your persuasive speech, you can deviate slightly from the script. But knowing the presentation “by-heart” will allow you to focus less on what you’re saying and more on how you’re saying it. When it comes to persuasion, the emotion and emphasis you bring to your presentation is every bit as important as the actual content of your message. Your passion is what will cause people to act on what they hear.
Make it Flow
As you memorize your presentation, pay particular attention to the transitions between thoughts and concepts. Speakers often struggle with these transitions and lose their audience’s attention as they pause to gather their thoughts before moving to the next topic. Even a momentary pause can cause your listeners to become preoccupied and lose interest.
Don’t Rely on Visual Aids
PowerPoint presentations are a great way to underscore your message, but they are intended to help your audience stay focused on your message. Never use them to help you stay on track. Constantly staring over your shoulder at a PowerPoint presentation will make it appear as though you don’t really know your subject. Maintaining eye contact with your audience builds trust and demonstrates your command of the material you’re presenting. Your focus should be on your audience.
Keep it Simple
Keep a conversational tone when addressing your audience, and say exactly what you mean. Avoid the use of “buzz words” and corporate jargon. Analogies can be highly effective, but be sure to use them sparingly. You should also make sure they aren’t so esoteric as to confuse the listener.
Connect with Individuals in the Audience
Don’t broadcast your message as if you were addressing your audience from a remote location. Making personal connections with your audience will ensure that your message is received. Make eye contact with members of your audience as you deliver your presentation. Include the entire audience by turning slightly to address every section of the room and, if appropriate, remember to smile.
Using these tips, you’ll become a much more confident, relaxed and persuasive public speaker.