Strategies for Persuasive Communication
Persuasive communication—presentations that induce or move an audience
to believe or act in a desired way—relies on three things: logical argument,
emotional appeal and speaker credibility. But even then, there are
strategies you can use for more persuasive presentations. Here are five
- Build initial rapport and goodwill with the audience. Tell how
pleased you are to be speaking to such a well-informed group of
students, outstanding group of business people, or leading citizens of
the community. Mention the fine record of the organization or group to
whom you are speaking. But be sincere; audiences are turned off by
flattery and false praise.
- Identify with the audience. Use “we” rather than “I.” Use “us”
rather than “me.” Studies show audiences are more persuaded by those
they perceive as being like them or as being a member of a group to
which they belong.
- Show how the thing you advocate will have benefits for your
audience. People are more likely to change if they can see how they will
be helped or have a specific need met. Remember, the cardinal rule of
all effective interpersonal communication is to know your audience and
meet their needs. Nowhere is this more important than with persuasive
- Move gradually toward points of possible disagreement. Rather than
trying to persuade a group to become vegetarians, ask them to eat only
vegetarian foods one day a week. Later you might persuade them to eat
only vegetarian meals two or three days a week; eventually you may
persuade them to become vegetarians.
- When you sense you have their agreement with what you are saying,
waste no more words. Ask for a commitment—now! Every good salesperson
knows that in addition to wasting words, you often lose a sale by
talking too much.
Best wishes with your next persuasive presentation.