According to Tony Robbins, your ability to persuade is the most important skill you can develop.
Without it your ideas won’t get traction. Without influence, you won’t get the resources or support you need.
Without influence, you won’t be able to communicate your unique value to the world.
Below, you’ll find the top four persuasive tactics business leaders should harness in 2021.
Persuasion Tactic #1 – Confidence
Many of us assume data and reasoning always win the day, but research actually shows humans prefer others who are self-assured over expertise alone.
We naturally assume confidence equates to skill. Even the most sceptical people tend to be at least partially persuaded by a self-assured speaker. In fact, studies show people prefer advice from a confident source (paywall). So much so, we will even forgive a poor track record.
One of the most important things to consider when you want to exude confidence: Be bold. Stop saying, “I think” or “I believe”. These are qualifiers to your speech that subtly hint to others that you’re not sure about what you’re saying.
If you think something will work, say it will work.
If you believe something will be successful, say it will be successful.
Stand behind your opinions – even if they are just opinions – and let your enthusiasm show. People will naturally gravitate to your side.
Persuasion Tactic #2 – Adjust Your Rate of Speech
One of the most detrimental aspects of speaking too fast is that it can create a bad impression. Our culture is riddled with negative connotations of being a fast talker. Speaking too fast can make what you’re saying appear “salesy”. It can also make you look impatient, aggressive or even lacking empathy for the person(s) to whom you’re speaking.
At the other end of the spectrum, fast-talking can be perceived as nervousness or having low confidence. Either way – it is the opposite of a composed leadership presence.
Power of Pause
If you’re naturally a fast talker, artificially slowing down your speech when you’re delivering a presentation may not always work. For one thing, it could make you sound unnatural or stiff. It can also be stressful, since it isn’t your natural tempo.
Try these tips to slow down and keep your persuasive mojo flowing:
- Add a short pause of about a second at the comma in a sentence.
- Add a pause of two or three seconds at the end of your sentence.
- Add a longer pause when you conclude a point before moving to your next point.
It might sound excruciating, but it can be a very powerful tool. In fact, some of the world’s most well known business leaders are known for embracing a long pause.
You’ve got to give people a chance to register what you’re saying. Always remember: It’s more important to think about how something comes across to an audience, not just how it sounds to you.
Persuasion Tactic #3 – Share Both Positives and Negatives
According to University of Illinois Professor, Daniel O’Keefe, directly addressing opposing viewpoints is actually more persuasive than trying to act as though they don’t exist.
Very few ideas are perfect, and your audience knows that. Regardless of how great your concept is, they know there are other perspectives and potential outcomes.
So meet them head on. Address the things they’re already considering. It shows that you have the confidence (Persuasion Tactic #1) to discuss potential negatives and explain how you will mitigate or overcome those problems.
Persuasion Tactic #4 – Repetition
One of the best ways to be more persuasive is through repetition – sharing your key message more than once.
In Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman touches on the behavioural psychology research relating to the power of repetition.
“Anything that makes it easier for the associative machine [aka, your brain] to run smoothly will also bias beliefs. A reliable way to make people believe in falsehoods is frequent repetition, because familiarity is not easily distinguished from truth.”
This is partly because we tend to take repetition as a social cue. When we hear something more than once, it becomes familiar and that familiarity builds trust.
In addition, we are more likely to believe and/or align our views with ideas that come easily to us. Therefore, the more familiar we become with words and ideas, the more powerful they are to us.
Practise for Max Persuasion
All of these skills require practise before they begin to feel natural. Consider all of the above when planning and rehearsing your next presentation. If you’d feel more comfortable with 1:1 coaching to really master your delivery, get in touch with our team today.