Are you persuasive? When you speak and write, do you have the ability to persuade people to do what you want them to do and to believe what you want them to think? Those with the power to persuade are in demand. People want to be on their teams. People follow their lead. Persuasive people tend to get noticed, heard, remembered, and, eventually, promoted.
Persuasive communication is not easy. It takes plenty of thought, planning, and practice. But the concepts that lead to persuasive communication are pretty straightforward. Here are five of the most important. If you put these into practice, they will help you immediately.
- Have a clear goal every time you speak. If you start with a clear goal for your communication opportunity, your preparation will be quicker and of better quality. Only when you know your desired destination does it become possible to get where you want to go.
- Spend time thinking about the needs and desires of your audience. Before designing the agenda for a meeting, for instance, spend some time thinking about the current mindset of your audience. Don’t spend all your time thinking about what you want to say. Spend most of your time thinking about the issues your audience will care about. What will cause them to say “yes” or “no” to your requests?
- Make the benefits to your audience the common denominator to every aspect of your message. Do you want to persuade someone of something? Then make the benefits the highlight of the message. If your message lacks clear benefits, you will struggle to persuade anyone of anything.
- Be authentic and sincere. When you deliver your message, speak in your own voice and with your own style. Do it your way, just as if you were speaking to a friend. Equally important, be sincere. When you stand up to speak, show the audience that you care about the topic.
- Practice. Acquiring any new skill requires many things, coaching and instruction among them. But without sufficient practice, all the books and coaching in the world won’t make you better. The same goes for communication. There are no magic bullets, no get-rich-quick schemes, no lose-100-pounds-in-100-days ploys. The amount you practice will determine your success.
When you do all these things, you are simply increasing the chances that you will connect with your audience, and when you do that, you make it more valuable for them and more likely that you will enjoy a successful meeting, phone call, or presentation.