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You don’t have to be a trial lawyer to learn the art of persuasion and effective speaking. From business presentations to convincing a company to give you an unprecedented refund, here are some practical tips for the public speaker, the business leader, or the family member that wants to work on the effectiveness of their voice: 

  • It’s all about persuasion – whether you’re 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 a key component to effective speaking. 

    Persuasion requires creditability, knowing your audience’s traits, needs, and responsibilities, and lastly, using practical examples to explain and assert your ideas on the matter at hand.  
  • When scripting your talk, it’s important to write the way you speak while still keeping your script structured and organized.  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 from where you think you should be. Being REAL is a key to building rapport. 

I find every time I have the courage to tell the truth about something, and let my audience see-into-me, a greater connection takes place.

Francine D. Ward
Attorney-At-Law
  • 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, add repetition to your speech, and be mindful of distractions. 
  • Practice, practice, and practice again so that you come across relaxed, comfortable, and unrehearsed – even if you are. When I’m preparing a speech, I not only practice in front of the mirror many times, but I also practice by walking around the office or the house while doing normal activities. Practice makes you better– practice makes you comfortable! 
  • Finally, tell as many stories as you can, BUT make sure they have a point. Stories animate your point-of-view and keep your talk engaging and interesting.  Facts and points, while important, mean nothing unless you are able to make some sense of them.  Stories help people to understand how to apply the bottom-line in real life.

In summary, be sure to remember that authenticity, stories, and practice are the keys to persuasive speaking. There is an irreplaceable satisfaction in being able to effectively communicate your thoughts. 

Self-esteem comes from having the courage to live in authenticity, learn new ideas, and constantly experience knowledge share with others.  I encourage you to ask others, with confidence, for feedback on your speaking abilities so that you can grow and improve! 

Keep me posted on how these tips help you speak more effectively than before! Until then, keep on using your voice!