Being able to communicate persuasively with any audience is not just about what you say, it’s also about what you do. Here are four tips for making your communication more persuasive
1. Take Time to Build Rapport
When rapport exists, there is a sense of trust and confidence between people that makes each more likely to respond positively to the other. Although there are techniques you can use to accelerate rapport, it has to be earned.
You create rapport by being willing to meet the other person where they are rather than trying to drag them where you want them to be. The biggest mistake most people make in any type of communication is trying to communicate from their own perspective rather than trying to relate to where their audience currently is.
If you take time to understand your audience, whether it’s one person or a thousand, you will find it much easier to build rapport and communicate with them more successfully. You create rapport when you use that knowledge to change the way you communicate to suit your audience.
2. Model Successful Communicators
One of the best ways to improve your communication skills is to notice what works well for others and then to incorporate elements of what you see into your own behavior. Modeling is not about copying people. That’s often illegal and it doesn’t usually work. However, if you learn what makes other people good at something, you can use that experience to improve your own performance.
The key to successful modeling is that it’s not just about watching what people do, it’s as much about understanding how they think and what they believe. Take advantage of any opportunity to talk to speakers you admire and read as much as possible about them.
3. Always Be Authentic
To become a great presenter, you need to be yourself. One of the secrets of the best speakers is that they appear natural. They are the same on stage as they are in person. Too many people try to invent a persona that they use in presentations as they think that’s what is needed. And many people hold off from speaking because they compare themselves unfavorably to other people. The truth is it doesn’t matter. People are interested in what you have to say not in your speaking abilities.
Former US President Ronald Reagan is now called the Great Communicator but that’s as much for the way his natural personality shows through as for great public speaking skills.
You can improve your speaking skills by enhancing your abilities. But speaking successfully is about using your existing abilities to their full advantage. Just be yourself and you will get the results that you want.
4. Value and Respond to Feedback
Like most things in life, giving presentations is a process of constant improvement – no matter how good you are.
In order to be able to improve, you must:
– Be willing to accept feedback constructively: If you want to improve, listen to what people say and incorporate it next time. Accepting feedback doesn’t mean you have to do what others say but all feedback helps you be aware of what works for you most of the time and what doesn’t.
– Actively seek opportunities for feedback: If you seriously want to improve your presentation skills, you should actively encourage feedback. Hand out surveys at the end of a presentation or ask someone you know well in the audience for some comments. Try to find people who will be both honest and encouraging.
– Keep doing more: The best way to improve is to keep getting more practice so that you improve your skills, incorporate more of what you learn and build your confidence.
Following these four secrets will help you build your persuasive presentation skills easily and confidently.