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Tips for speaking with confidence

  • Pace Setting. Make sure to be in control of your pace. Remember to speak slowly enough for listeners to follow but quickly enough to sustain their interest.
  • Use a low-pitched voice. Many people interpret a low-pitched voice as authoritative and influential. Likewise, completing a sentence with a downward inflection-a lowering of pitch-communicates confidence and certainty.
  • Control loudness. Speak loudly enough to be heard but not so loudly as to irritate or offend listeners. Increase the volume of your voice a bit when you want to emphasize important words and phrases.
  • Be articulate. Clearly articulate words and phrases to convey confidence and competence. In order to be articulate, you really need to practice your presentation and know the subject matter well enough.
  • Use pauses for impact. Pause just before making a point you want to emphasize-and maintain eye contact with your listeners during the pause. Don’t use ‘hmm’ or ‘err’, it just don’t look nice.

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Tips on using graphics for your presentation

  • Match graphics to your message. Make sure that everything in your slide serve a purpose.
  • Convey one idea per graphic. If you cram too many concepts onto one slide or diagram, you’ll overwhelm your audience. Try to limit yourself with one idea per slide and per graphic to improve idea clarity and effectiveness in your presentation.
  • Keep the number of graphics to a minimum. When you’re using a slide presentation, avoid presenting more than one slide or overhead every two minutes for a 40-minute presentation, you’d want no more than about 20 graphics per presentation.
  • Keep your slides simple. Use key words, not full sentences and most definitely no essay-like structure. Use pictures where possible. Avoid positioning letters vertically. And use no more than two type sizes and fonts per slide.
  • Check text readability. Make sure any text included in a graphic is readable at a distance and in a darkened room. Use a clear and legible font which easy on the eyes and optimized on your font size depending on the room characteristic. Make sure the font size not too big nor too small, make sure that the font size is just nice.
  • Avoid talking to your graphics. Look at your listeners while explaining a chart, diagram, or graphic. Never show your audience your backside.

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What are listeners’ communication modes?

We need to understand that different people have different wiring which cause everyone to have different thinking, personalities and characters. Therefore, it is inevitable that different people respond best to specific communication modes that persuaders can use. To persuade others, especially your boss and others senior to you, you need to understand their preferred mode.

Examples of communication modes would include –

  • Authoritarian—based on issuing threats and orders
  • Visionary—evoking powerful emotions such as compassion, pride, and hope
  • Rational—drawing on data to make a point
  • Relational—based on familiarizing yourself with others’ culture and language

Once you understand the communication modes of those you’re seeking to persuade, you can adapt how you deliver your idea to boost the odds of persuading them. Hence, before you tried to persuade others, you need to know your audience first !

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What is credibility?

What is Credibility? Credibility is the quality, capability, or power to elicit belief. And it’s the cornerstone of persuasion. That’s because when others see you as credible, they’re more likely to commit time or resources to your idea or proposal.

First, you need to establish your credibility on these two fronts:

  • You as a person. Credible people are seen by others as believable, trustworthy, sincere, and well informed. For instance, you show that you understand all the implications of a new offering you’re recommending because you’ve carefully researched target markets, customer interest, and the competition. And your past actions show that you consistently and thoroughly research your ideas before presenting them.
  • Your ideas. Credible ideas are sound, reasonable and well backed by facts. For example, the idea you propose for a new offering makes sense, given current market conditions and your organization’s business strategy.

For you and your ideas to be seen as credible, you need to earn others’ trust and establish your expertise.

You can think of credibility in terms of this formula:

Credibility = Trust + Expertise

The more trust you earn and the more expertise you establish, the more credible you and your ideas become and the more persuasive you can be.

It never to late to establish trust and start building your expertise.

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Mastering the elements of persuasion

In order to persuade others effectively, you need to position an idea, approach, or solution in a way that appeals to the people affected by it. To do so, you have to win their minds by making a rational case for your position using facts, expert opinions, and actual examples.

But you also need to win their hearts by presenting information in a way that appeals to their basic human emotions, such as the desire to be a team player or the passion to succeed or in other words, knowing which button to push.

Therefore to do all this, you need to master these elements of persuasion:

  • Build credibility. Build your credibility by earning others’ trust and establishing your expertise and having a good track records.
  • Find common ground. Describe the benefits of the position you’re advocating in terms of what you and others value such as increased revenues that could fund initiatives important to your department and others.
  • Provide supporting information. Reinforce your position with compelling data, stories, examples, and images. However, please do not sugar-coat your position so much so that fulfilling the promises is impossible. Example of such persuasion is seen all too often in election manifestos.
  • Understand human emotion. Understand the people you want to persuade, and connect with them on an emotional level. Human is an emotional being, so much so that leadership and civilization could be defined as intelligent management of human emotions.

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What is persuasion ?

What is persuasion? Persuasion is a process which enables you to change or reinforce others’ attitudes, opinions, or behaviors.

Persuasion can be used for

  • A single event. For example, you present a business case for a new product idea to a group of decision makers, hoping they’ll approve funding to develop the product.
  • Over time. Sometimes you’ll need to conduct a campaign that has different stages, unfolds over time, and involves the input of multiple people. In your role as manager, you’ll frequently need to convince individuals and groups of the value of your ideas and persuade them to support those ideas.

You might know the people you’re trying to persuade well, or they might be complete strangers. Or perhaps they’re acquaintances, falling somewhere in between. Whatever the case, how well you know them and they you will affect how you approach your persuasion challenge.

Finally, persuasion blends art and science:

  • Art. Persuasion requires the ability to earn trust or appear trustworthy, establish your expertise, and communicate compellingly. It is the ability to make others believe in you.
  • Science. Persuasion hinges on applying the principles of human behavior derived from a well-developed body of research, including studies about how people make decisions.

In summary persuasion, the ability to influence others.