Persuasive communication

Persuasive communication - Presentations

Get Their Attention, Part 2: Dealing With A Skeptical Audience

In 1983, Ted Kennedy accepted an invitation from Jerry Falwell, the leader of the Moral Majority, to speak at Liberty Baptist College in Virginia. It could have easily been a disaster—one of the most liberal members of the Senate speaking to a group that was actively opposed to most of what he stood for.

Kennedy may not have changed many minds that day, but he did accomplish something very important: he got his audience to listen to him.

In an earlier article, I proposed a number of ways to earn your audience’s attention. Those techniques work very well when the audience is neutral or favorable to your point of view, but when they are skeptical of your position to begin with, or downright hostile to it, the game changes. In this article, we raise the bar and consider principles for engaging your audience’s attention when they really don’t want to hear your message.

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Persuasive communication - Sales

Ask Them to Tell You A Story

Two of the most important tools in any persuader’s toolbox are stories and questions. When you put them together, they make for a powerful combination.

Various persuasive questioning processes, including the Socratic method in teaching, Motivational Interviewing in clinical psychology or Huthwaite’s SPIN process in sales, are all designed to get listeners to reach their own conclusion that they must follow the course of action you’re selling. The general principle underlying all these approaches is that rather than trying to motivate people to act for your reasons it is far better to draw out their own motivations. They do this by uncovering gaps between their current situation and an ideal state, and eliciting enough pain and tension that they feel compelled to act to close that gap, ideally with your plan, product, or idea.

Where have we all seen this before?

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Book reviews - Persuasive communication - Uncategorized

Book Recommendation: The Art of Woo

Last week I wrote an article about persuasion as a process, in which I emphasized the critical importance of preparation and positioning before you get in front of your intended audience. I’ve chosen The Art of Woo for this week’s book recommendation for the lessons it includes about strategic persuasion.

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Persuasive communication - Presentations

Free Your Hands

There was a FedEx commercial where a low-ranking employee suggests opening an online account to save shipping costs. No one responds. A few seconds later, the boss says exactly the same thing, only this time using emphatic gestures. Everyone cheers and adopts the solution. When the young guy points out that he suggested the same idea, the boss says: “But you didn’t go like this”, as he karate-chops the air.

That scene may be a bit exaggerated, but the fact is that many speakers unconsciously disarm themselves by imprisoning their hands while they speak. They lose the effectiveness that gestures can contribute to the effectiveness of any presentation or conversation by supplying information, view authenticity, and energy.

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