Four Things Highly Persuasive People Do

persuasive peopleAs a business leader, mastering the art of persuasion is a valuable skill. Whether in the boardroom, a sales presentation, or a company-wide staff meeting, winning over an audience is a feeling of accomplishment.

In a recent post, Sims Wyeth, author of The Essentials of Persuasive Public Speaking, identifies four principles employed by persuasive people to win over their audiences.

Answer the Question, “Why?”

Public speaking workshops and seminars have long held that the key to getting people interested in your topic and what you’re about to say was the grabber — a short, attention-getting opening sentence to kick everything off.

Wyeth argues using jokes and on-stage showmanship might work, but the best speakers are more concerned about providing the answers to “why” — why is it important to discuss this right now?

“Providing answers to the ‘Why’ question is the better, more credible, and meaningful way to open your talk.”

Find the Passion

If you are genuinely passionate about a topic, your audience will know. Wyeth notes that while passion is contagious, it can’t be forced. “When an audience is genuinely held in its grip, the listeners know. They can feel it.”

Talk Conversationally

Think about the most last presentation that you heard. Did the speaker rattle off a list of topics, moving through them one after another, or did they present conversationally, using anecdotes, and weaving a narrative from beginning to end?

Conversational speaking is important for persuasion, says Wyeth, because “there is an intuitive, cause and effect association from one scene to the next.”

How do persuasive people do this?

“Make connections between main ideas. Showcase them as stepping stones of logic or association, thoughtfully leading your listeners from one idea to the next.”

Find a Sense of Truth

“Most people think that acting is about pretending, being someone else, and being a good faker. Actually, it’s about finding and demonstrating a sense of truth in what you’re saying.”

The same is true of public speaking, says Wyeth. People are judged and evaluated on how convincingly they can present an argument and articulate its importance to an audience.

A sales presentation outlining the benefits of your product or services to a prospect or existing client isn’t much different from a keynote address at a conference or seminar.

“Your job is to get the audience to believe in you and your message: You want them to suspend their disbelief, to drop their skepticism, move out of their inertia, and comply with your request.”

Tie in your personal experiences and perspectives as you work through the presentation material. Bring it to life, make it personable, and you will capture the hearts and minds of your audience.

What presentation tips would you offer?