Persuasion

Should you speak to your audience as a group or individuals?

Today’s topic is an important word choices distinction that can make a big difference to how your audience engages with you. Should you speak to your audience as a group or individuals? It matters especially at the start when you first speak - remember that your opening words are often what make people decide to listen to you or not. And this technique can also be important as you go through your content. Let me illustrate it with an example. I recently signed up for a newsletter from a US global influencer, originally known for the 4-Hour workweek, Tim Ferriss. Some of the emails I've been receiving as a...

For Influence and Confidence, Question Lazy Labels

For influence, question lazy labels We label and put people and ideas into boxes all the time: and we need to. These short-cuts for our brain are vital to let us get on with our day without stopping to second-guess ourselves. And it's much faster to label than to try to understand. However, by their very nature these labels stop us from thinking more deeply and being curious. And if you follow me regularly you'll know that I believe curiosity to be a major super-power for successful communication. The good news is that avoiding or questioning these label shortcuts can be a major...

Your truth or universal truth, get to the point, and a self-worth reminder

1. To influence: are you speaking a universal truth, or your own? If as a presenter we generalise about things that aren't true for our audience, they'll usually disconnect, and the opportunity to influence disappears. And if you think this doesn't apply to you, it's worth a check-in: it's surprisingly common. Some sentence starters to be aware of when you speak: “We all appreciate that…” – are you sure? “Of course you know…” – do we? “We’ve all felt/done/heard…” – have we? Any of these can create a barrier between speaker and audience. If I feel “you’re not talking to me” , you lose me. The...

Unconscious Speaking Habits May Be Holding You Back

Are you aware of what you do with your hands, or if you use many filler words (like, um, you know) when communicating? And that these unconscious speaking habits may be holding you back? Most people aren't that aware - and this is often a good thing! We have enough to do to get through each day without finding something else to work on, let's face it. And a few filler works like 'um' aren't an issue. (The problem comes when they multiply and become a barrier for the listener.) Likewise with gesturing. We gesture to help us think, and it's important...

Communication Challenge: Avoid Empty Phrases When You Communicate

A frequent challenge when speaking is to avoid adding empty phrases when you communicate. And there are a few popular ones doing the rounds at the moment which, in my view, weaken and dilute the message you're trying to convey. Avoid Empty Phrases When You Communicate When we want to get a point across at work, whether in a conversation, meeting or presentation, it's important to be clear and crisp (unless, of course, we're trying to create a smokescreen or divert attention from something undesirable!). And there are some empty phrases which just bloat our communication. Here's a recent quote from a high-level...

Communication Challenge: Talking Too Much When Trying to Convince

Talking too much when trying to convince or persuade others. Does this communication style sound like you? Talking too much when trying to convince! In my experience there are common reasons for talking too much, especially when trying to convince or persuade others. Here are 8 - see if you recognise yourself in one or more: You don't trust in the merit of your ideas (my last post on this is here) and are trying to convince yourself - even more than your listeners. You may think that if you just keep talking, something will click and work out. How many sales...

Communication Challenge: Not Fully Trusting Your Own Ideas

Do you ever diminish yourself or your abilities? A real communication challenge comes from not fully trusting your own ideas. There are many ways we can short-change ourselves when we communicate our ideas - whether that's to one person or a big audience. Today I'm talking about a common issue, with more to come in future posts. Not trusting our ideas fully enough. This one's particularly for you if you're in the business of creating change, influencing or persuading others. Not trusting in the power of our ideas to make a difference in the world is often the biggest internal block we have...

Powerfully Persuasive Word According to Research

Today I'd like to give you a powerfully persuasive word which can help when your goal is to influence somebody. We all know that words influence us. There's plenty of research showing that our minds are easily 'primed' to move in a negative or positive direction. Even briefly seeing words about power - or lack of it -  make a measurable difference in our minds and emotions. Words can be powerfully persuasive - even when they seem innocuous or gentle. So we can use this to our advantage. Here’s one to try when wanting to persuade someone, particularly if they’re resistant to...

What flavour qualities make a great communicator?

Whether we’re talking to a large audience, boardroom table or individual, these are specific flavour qualities which I believe are essential to truly stand out when we communicate. And these aren’t “presentation skills” per se, they’re attitudes we bring to the interaction. They also apply to conversations at work, home or socially. What flavour qualities make a good communicator? The base ‘cone’ ingredient is made of “aim to make it more about them, not you” (definitely adhere to this ingredient if you're giving a presentation!) and the three flavour scoops are: Respect Empathy Non-judgement These connection ingredients may seem obvious, but bear with me here. They're...

Audience Connection: Your Truth or Universal Truth

Audience Connection - Your Truth or Universal Truth As audience members in a presentation or event of any kind, something we look for is a connection with the speaker. And one of the things that impacts that connection is when the presenter throws out a generalisation about a topic, and confidently asserts something that isn't true for us: either literally, or that doesn't fit with our values or beliefs. You could think of it like this, seen through the lens of audience connection: 'your truth' or 'universal truth'. Whether the speaker's assertion is a 'literal' or 'beliefs' trigger for us, it can...