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Why Everyone Listens To Him When We Say The Same Thing: Tricks To Reverse The Situation

Why Everyone Listens To Him When We Say The Same Thing: Tricks To Reverse The Situation

You and your colleague are presenting your respective proposals to the director in the meeting room. You’re confident that your proposal will be accepted. Because you find many loopholes in what your colleague says.

But the strange thing is…

The director keeps nodding his head when your colleague presents his idea. He seems to feel entertained and intrigued by your colleague’s performance.

Finally, the proposal from your colleague, instead of yours, is accepted.

The director is a smart guy. He should be able to identify that your arguments are more solid, and accept your proposal for the sake of company’s development.

But why is he more convinced by what your colleague says?

Validity of Argument is Insufficient

We, as human beings, are always proud of being able to think logically. We weigh the cost and benefits carefully to make sure we make the most reasonable decision.

This is how our brain works, isn’t it? Oh, but wait…

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In reality, we are not as rational as we think.

Actually, our minds are full of biases. External factors such as rational arguments can hardly outweigh the influence of our deep-rooted biases.

A study showed that people who supported death penalty after learning about the anti-death penalty turned out to be surprisingly more supportive to death penalty. The same happened to the opposing side.[1]

The researcher concluded that an effect known as ‘biased assimilation effect’ was found – we only believe evidence that stands on our side. This effect is universal in every aspect.

In other words, our minds are made up. We are not easily swayed by arguments.

Validity of argument does not sufficiently win us a debate.

So what’s lacking?

3 Components of Effective Persuasion

Aristotle, an influential philosopher, suggested three components of effective persuasion in his work Rhetoric.

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Validity of arguments, listeners’ emotions and speakers’ personal images.

All the three collectively affect our persuasiveness. Missing any one of the components can render the persuasion ineffective.

Listeners’ emotions affect persuasiveness by their willingness to listen to arguments. In moody state, even the most convincing argument won’t be entertained. In delighted times, even an under-developed idea will be well supported.

Speakers’ personal images affect persuasiveness by the listeners’ tendency to entrust them with. It can be the impression ‘he/she has been responsible and diligent’ or ‘he/she looks trustworthy’. The validity of argument is irrelevant in this case.

Certainly, we still need a functioning argument for us to persuade others. Yet, validity alone is far from enough to persuade others.

How to Make Everyone Listen to Me?

After learning what might be lacking in our consideration during persuasion, we now have to know exactly what we can do to incorporate the tips in our daily usage.

Be aware of the listeners’ state of emotion

Pick an appropriate time to do the persuasion, when the listeners are calm and ready to listen.

It is never wise to start an argument with anyone who is emotionally unstable. It will always end badly. Either we get frustrating explaining or the listener is more triggered.

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Pay attention to the listeners’ body language and facial expressions. Sometimes their bodies give signals displaying unwillingness to listen or tiredness. Then it is improper to continue because it is effort-wasting.

Build up a positive image

From time to time, we categorize people as trustworthy or not. Building up a trustworthy impression makes persuasive work less harder. Be responsible for our words. Before making judgement or giving conclusion, test the validity ourselves.

Improve the delivery

Even if you have a strong argument, you need to properly convey the message in a neat and convincing manner.

Having sufficient eye contact during delivery boosts self-confidence and sound more convincing.

Avoid abrupt stops within sentences. It is difficult to grasp the gist in ‘broken’ sentence.

Properly segment your delivery in a point-to-point way. People can only buy your ideas if they can get your point.

Seek concrete arguments

Last but not least, the validity does matter. Though it alone is not adequate to convince others. Having a solid and fully developed argument is always important.

Look for adequate supporting evidence. Is your argument groundless or is it supported by trustworthy evidence?

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Sometimes one or two evidence is inadequate. Then you have to look for other way to strength your point.

Is there any similar arguments available? If yes, are they applicable to this situation? Fully develop your argument before presentation.

Personal virtue and catering to listeners’ emotions are complementary to validity. Given two persons with comparably convincing arguments, people will opt for the one who have better personal image, cater to their emotions and deliver their ideas more clearly.

Keep in mind that validity of the argument is never unimportant. It is just that mere validity is insufficient to be persuasive.

If we manage to balance all the three components of effective persuasion, soon we will find everyone listen to us.

Featured photo credit: Tim’s Free English Lesson Plans via maybusch.com

Reference

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Jeffrey Lau

Editor. Sport Lover. Animal Lover.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

1. Connecting them with each other

Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

2. Connect with their emotions

Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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3. Keep going back to the beginning

Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

4. Link to your audience’s motivation

After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

5. Entertain them

While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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6. Appeal to loyalty

Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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