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[Quick public speaking tip] 3 Ways you need to use listening if you are speaking to persuade

It's not just speaking ... when we speak to persuade.

Successful persuasion also lies in the ability to actively listen, even, and especially, in the field of public speaking.

 

listening_persuade

 

Successful speaking to persuade relies on knowing your audience.

What are their needs and wants?

How are they thinking about your proposal?

What are they likely to favour about it?

What is going to stand in the way of them being persuaded?

What are their doubts?

What are their objections?

What are the obstacles to them moving forward with your suggestions?

Listen to them - before the presentation - survey them, talk to them, ask the event organiser about them - and listen.

Listen to them - during the presentation - ask them questions - and listen.

Successful speaking to persuade relies on seeing moments where you can gain agreement - maybe a comment or question from your audience, a situation from which you can draw an analogy, maybe a report back from a group discussion.

Listen for those and keep a line of thinking open that will allow you to use those moments to really amp up the energy of your speaking response.

Successful speaking to persuade relies on your being adaptable. It's one of the lessons I teach in my workshops and seminars on PowerPoint. Be prepared to change the course or direction of your presentation. If it seems that your audience puts value on one point or discussion over another, or if the feedback, comments or discussion suggests that a different direction would work best, then be prepared to change the structure of the presentation that you had prepared in advance.

This means that not only is your structure working for you. It also means that you are building trust. You care enough about your audience to change direction for them and you are confident enough in your material and your beliefs to change direction for them.

Listen, then, to their comments, to their suggestions and the tone of their discussions.

So I have covered three areas of listening that will build the success of your persuasive speaking - knowing your audience, watching for opportunities to ramp up the energy and being adaptable.

Do you use any other listening techniques to successfully persuade?

 

Author:  Bronwyn Ritchie is an outcomes-driven, award-winning speaker and mentor, a story strategist at Pivotal Story Solutions and publisher at Pivotal Magazine.  She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. Want a boost to your confident, effective speaking success?  Click here for Bronwyn's FREE 30 speaking tips. Join now or go to  http://www.30speakingtips.com or visit her website Pivotal Public Speaking

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Quick Public Speaking tip – Gestures, naturally

gestures

Natural gestures are basically the aim for any public speaker.

We watch an excellent speaker, and maybe we notice their gestures.

I said "maybe" because if he or she is an excellent speaker, we should not be noticing their gestures.   We should be taking in the whole package as a message,

without noticing how it is done.

A major measure of excellence in any sort of craft, of course, is not noticing how it was done, unless we deliberately look or search..

If you suspect that are not a natural gesturer, ask yourself

"Is this a cause for concern?"

What does it mean to be "not a natural gesturer"?

Probably this is a person who is self-contained and does not need to gesture to keep their brain functioning or the speech flowing.

Not a person of flamboyance.

Why does it matter?

Get a second opinion, and a third and a fourth if necessary.

It may be that you are communicating successfully without many gestures.

If the feedback says that you need to improve -

and the reason given is that your presentation feels wrong, or rigid or unnatural

(NOT for the reason that it doesn't fit a set of rules that someone feels should be followed for no other reason than that they are rules),

then you can work on them.

The first step to take is to learn to stand with your arms wide open.

Get comfortable doing that.

Feel grounded doing that.

Feel yourself expand out to the audience doing that, while remaining grounded and in your own space.

Once you have established that feeling, it may be a simple progression to loosen up and become expansive with gestures,

flowing along with the emotion and flow of your speech.

If not, then you can learn to gesture - there are any number of general styles and specific movements that I have shared with clients over the years, but those who needed them were quite few.

Find the gesture,

then practise it, and practise it, and practise it until it becomes natural and flows with the language it supports.  If it is not natural or flowing, keep practising until it is does, because otherwise it will look incongruous and you may as well have not gestured at all.

I remember my days of representing my high school in competition speaking and being coached to put my finger on my nose when talking about people putting on sunscreen.

For days it felt weird, contrived, uncomfortable.

Eventually, though, with days and days of practice and a supportive teacher-coach, it became natural and I could produce it naturally.

It felt good.

It felt right.

It felt appropriate.

And furthermore, having relaxed through that performance, gradually, I learned to relax into natural gestures.

That was a child, nervous, aware of a very critical judgement as she spoke, and aware, too, of the people who had put in so much effort so she could win for them and the school.

With adult clients, I find those who need some guidance to "loosen up", generally do so quite naturally as they learn to believe in themselves and their message, along with the practice of standing with open body language and relaxing.

If you speak with passion - for your subject and for your audience's outcomes - your body will support your message.

Even if you make no gestures, your stance, your facial expressions and your eye contact, will work powerfully to support that passion and your message.

 

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Are you in control of your story online?

story_google_ed

 

Who are you?

If someone wants to know who you are, they type your name into Google.

Before the meeting,  you have been googled.

Before the interview, you have been googled.

Before the pitch, you have been googled.

What is Google saying about you?

What did you give Google to say about you?

It's an interesting exercise to Google oneself ... interesting and sometimes surprising!!

Right there is a little window into how people might be seeing you.

That is the story people are seeing and reading about you - your personal brand story, your business brand story.

Did Google put it there?  No.  But Google chose which parts of it to put in front of searchers as the first thing they saw.

Did other people put it there?  Yes.  Your clients comment on your business and connect with you.  Your friends comment on you and connect with you.  You listed yourself on other websites, and commented or interacted there.

So to some extent, this is happening without you.

Consider, though ...

You gave your clients something to comment on.  What was that?

You connected with them.  What impression did that give?

You gave your friends something to comment on.  What was that?

You connected with them.  What impression did that give?

You associated yourself with other websites.  What impression does that give?

Everything communicates.

My mother said to me often and often, "Put your words on the palm of your hand before you say them."

She probably said that as I grew into a teenager with attitude, and not much thought for what I said, or what the consequences might be.

Everything communicates, especially words, but actions too.

So everything we do on the internet communicates something and it's not always what we might expect.

Google, and the internet as a whole, gives us an unparalleled opportunity to communicate, to share and to build a brand, and there is nothing so challenging, nor so rewarding as to to watch that brand build and grow.

Enjoy!!

Author:  Bronwyn Ritchie.  

If you would like help telling your story on-line, please contact me.  I have a "Connecting the Dots" programme that helps my clients find the story they need to tell.