This afternoon, I read an article in this month’s ABA Journal, one of my legal periodicals. The article spoke about the power of persuasion and made some pretty good points about persuasion and effective speaking. As I read through the entire article, I realized how valuable the information was, even if you aren’t a trial lawyer (which I’m not). The data could easily be applied to anyone who speaks for a living or as part of their business.
Here are a few points that jumped out at me that you might find helpful:
- It’s all about persuasion- whether trying to convince a jury or a judge of your point of view or convince an audience to buy your service, product, or message- persuasion is crucial to effective speaking.
- When scripting your talk, you must write how you speak. Otherwise, you come across as “scripted,” fake, and inauthentic. Use the language you most often use, and connect with your audience from where you are, not where you think you should. Being REAL is a key to building rapport. Whenever I have the courage to tell the truth about something and let my audience see into me, a greater connection occurs.
- It’s okay to have notes but DON’T read from a script because you can’t focus on your audience if you’re reading every word. One way to build rapport is to focus on your audience through eye contact, and again, it’s hard to do that if you are reading your script.
- Practice, practice, practice, so you come across as relaxed, comfortable, and unrehearsed–even if you are. When preparing for a talk, I not only practice in front of the mirror many times, but I also practice my talk by walking around the office or the house doing everyday things. Practice makes it better!
- Finally, tell as many stories as possible, but ensure they have a point. Stories bring it all together, and they’re interesting. Facts and points, while important, mean nothing unless you can make some sense of them. Stories help people understand how points appear in real life and how they may relate to their situation.
So remember, stories and authenticity are the keys to persuasive speaking. And doesn’t it make you feel better when you can effectively communicate your thoughts? Self-esteem comes from having the courage to learn and being open to new ideas. Until next time, have a good time speaking!