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How to Be More Persuasive

How to Be More Persuasive


    Have you ever wished you could be more charming? You know – like someone who instinctively knows how to get the right people on side at just the right time?

    The reality is that we all need to get along with people at some point in our lives, whether it be at work or home – so it really does pay off to be able to persuasively state your opinions when you need to.

    Take work for example – you may not realize it, but regardless of your official job title – it’s likely that you are frequently in a situation where you’ll need to sell either your ‘point of view’ or yourself for that matter! Simple things like ‘asking for a day off’ or ‘giving your boss an update on your progress’ all require an element of selling.

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    And the most important part of selling is the ability to be ‘persuasive’: to be able to present your case in a favorable light that will get you the best outcome. Lets face it – the more you are able to ‘influence’ people around you, the more you can achieve in life.

    Rapport is one of the most underutilized methods of persuasion. Many people do it naturally, while others are unknowingly behaving in ways that ‘break’ rapport and create adverse reactions. A large element of rapport boils down to body language. Subconsciously our body language will build deeper relationships with those we naturally admire and weaken connections with those we may be intimidated by or less impressed with.

    Let’s explore a few handy tips to use body language, voice matching and observation skills to your advantage so that you can become naturally more persuasive.

    5 Tips To Become More Persuasive By Building Rapport

    1. ‘Match’ your body language to the person you’re talking to.

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    So if they cross their right leg, then you cross your right leg too, if they put their left hand on their hip, you do the same. Be careful not to be too obvious with this – subtlety is key!

    2. ‘Mirror’ your body language.

    Similar to ‘matching’, you simply ‘mirror’ body language. So if the person you’re speaking with makes a hand gesture with their right hand, when you start to speak you would make a similar hand gesture with the opposite hand (so it’s like you are mirroring them). Again – be sure to be subtle!

    3. Change the volume of your voice to suit the person you are speaking with.

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    If their voice is soft then it pays off not to shout at them! Similarly if they have a loud booming voice, you should adjust your voice so that it is confident and loud to match their style

    4. Change the speed of your voice so it’s in time with your conversation.

    If your peer speaks very slowly the worst thing you could do is talk really quickly at them as this will break rapport and result in frustration and feelings of awkwardness! It’s important to match the ‘pace’ of the person you are speaking with.

    5. Notice what’s important to them.

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    Listen for words or topics that keep coming up. This is what’s important to them, so they will feel like you’re really listening to them if you repeat the same words or focus on the same topics when it’s your turn to talk. An example: if your boss keeps using the word ‘priorities’ then make sure you also use this same word when you are reviewing your workload for the week. This really makes them feel understood and builds your relationship at a subconscious level

    The purpose of rapport is to build a deeper connection with someone so be careful not to go over the top with your approach. If someone feels like you are ‘mimicking’ them then you’ll get a bad reaction! Remember that subtlety and sincerity is key!

    Have a go at using the methods I mention above and notice how much easier it is to be persuasive once you have built up some rapport first! For example if you need to ask a favour of someone, don’t steam straight in and ask them! Take the time to build up rapport by focusing on the other person first – you’ll be surprised by how much this will impact their response to your request. And you might just find they are more willing to help you!

    Once you’ve nailed the rapport side of things the next step is to learn how to win any argument

    (Photo credit: The Bait via Shutterstock)

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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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