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May 2007 - Strategies for Persuasive Communication

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

May 2007

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 of them.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 communication.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama
jkline@klinespeak.com

April 2007 - How to Win
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