Archive for the ‘Persuasive Speaking’ Category
Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011
Here are some techniques to get audience participation that I came across:
Audience participation can be an element of effective showmanship in public speaking. The old saying, “Everyone likes to get into the act,” is probably about ninety-nine per cent true.
When the speech material permits, a speaker can get his audience into the “act” by asking for a show of hands as an answer to some question. One speaker did this by saying, “Now I’m going to ask for a show of hands. How many of you had difficulty finding a parking spot on Main Street tonight?” As the speaker talked he encouraged action by reaching for the ceiling himself. He paused for the response. Then he continued speaking, “Several did, I see. And the rest probably brought their parking spaces with them.”
Another speaker who was scheduled to speak third on a program knew the people were tired sitting, so he started his speech by saying, “Let’s all stand for a seventh inning stretch, please.” While the people were standing he walked over to an old man in the front row, put his hand gently on the old man’s shoulder-and said, “You know, I took a big chance when I asked those people to stand, didn’t I? They could have all walked right out that side door!”
Such impromptu remarks usually make favorable impressions upon listeners because this type of speaking suggests that the speaker is not going to unload a canned speech, full of clever tricks, upon an audience. It also contributes to a relaxed atmosphere.
People are inclined to follow a speaker’s directions when he puts suitable bodily action into his request. For instance, when a speaker says, “Everybody stand, please,” he reaches out with both hands open, and makes a big upward sweeping movement as though he were actually lifting everyone up.
A speaker may add a humorous touch to this request by adding, “Now shake hands with your neighbor, and if she’s your wife, kiss her!” Usually somebody will, and people get a big kick out of seeing a man kiss his wife in public.
Or a speaker could say, “I’m going to give you half a minute break. And during that time see how many people you can shake hands with. Get ready now, go!” A variation of this activity is, “Everybody stand, please. Now turn around quickly and shake hands with the person behind you.” Everyone turns and, of course, there is no one to shake hands with. With a large audience this always gets a laugh.
These simple techniques can help to keep your audience interested and give them a chance to relax. Keeping your audience relaxed and interested is an important part of being persuasive. If you are wanting to know more about effective public speaking – try out our free 7 day e-course delivered direct to your inbox by simply entering your details in the box to the right to get started straightaway.
Saturday, July 30th, 2011
A persuasive speaker usually needs positive emotion to persuade their audience.
“Stroking the fur the right way,” without being deceitful, is usually a more persuasive method than irritating listeners or throwing monkey wrenches into the machinery. A few speakers have successfully irritated audiences to action or persuaded with invective. But this method requires delicate handling. And, per¬aps wisely, it is not commonly used. Such an approach may backfire even when used by an expert. Most listeners like a challenge and they will endure some gentle pushing, but antagonizing remarks are usually resented.
A persuasive speaker needs strong emotional force in his speaking, although he should never let his feelings run wild or cause him to make untactful statements.
Sometimes emotional speaking which is intended to be persuasive may stimulate the opposite effect. For instance, shortly after America declared war on Germany the first time, a Hoosier politician who was running for a county office, declared in a
burst of patriotism, “If I had a drop of German blood in my veins I’d have it cut out!”
This statement was made in a community of American citizens where about three-fourths of the people were of German descent. They didn’t sympathize with Germany but they could not help having “German blood” in their veins. Even the speaker’s wife was of direct German descent!
Actually this speaker injured his listeners’ self-respect. His tactless remark was passed around, and hundreds of people who did not hear the speech, did learn one thing the speaker had said. Some people concluded that his lack of tact cost him the election. His statement was indeed tactless. He could have expressed patriotism in a way that would not have insulted those good American citizens who disliked German despotism as much as he.
Why hurt people? Words which create an “area of good feeling” are far more persuasive. Expressing sincere appreciation and praise is usually a persuasive influence. Flattery, however, is like a counterfeit coin, more often refused than accepted. And it is always unethical.
A characteristic of able showmanship is a speaker’s ability to adjust his thinking and action to last minute, or unexpected changes.
For example out on the street a loud fire siren started just as a speaker had been introduced. The speaker stood quietly until he could be heard. Then he said, “I didn’t expect to start a fire so quickly!”
Upon another occasion a chair collapsed suddenly causing a big man to fall sprawling into an aisle. The audience laughed. And they laughed again when the speaker said, “Well, I see I’m slaying them in the aisles.” But then the listeners, having had a good laugh, listened attentively to the speaker again as he continued talking seriously.
Using humor and positive emotion is an effective way to persuade people in any form of spoken communication whether it is one to one or to groups of any size. Unfortunately, today not everyone is that successful at this spoken communication especially when speaking to a group or audience of any size. If this is you and you would like to be a better speaker to groups of any size, check out our free 7 day e-course by entering your details in the box to the right and have it sent direct to your inbox and get started straightway.
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
In my previous post I gave an example of a speech of Lincoln’s showing off his skills as master at persuasion in public speaking.
This approach is truly a masterpiece of persuasion. It appeals to the listeners’ better nature, makes them justly proud of their heritage and fairness. They are called “friends, fellow citizens, brave and gallant people” by the speaker. He identifies himself-as one of them —”just a humble, honest person trying to get along.” Being approached by such sincere, effective persuasion how could they refuse the speaker a fair listening?
Through disappointing and “bitter experiences” Lincoln learned that honest tact is far more persuasive than bluntness or high-pressure methods. Suppose he had used the following approach in the situation referred to above:
I understand that some of you ignorant people here tonight have threatened violent harm to me. Don’t you know who I am? Evidently you are so illiterate you don’t know the law will sup¬port me in my demand for free speech here tonight. And anyone who tries to stop me will be thrown into jail for disturbing the peace. I’m going to speak whether you like it or not, and you’re going to listen!
You can imagine the negative response such remarks would get. Always it is much better to persuade as Lincoln did rather than try to force ideas upon people. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” (Samuel Butler) Listen again to the master persuader:
. . . We don’t like to be made fun or laughed at, belittled. We aspire to a decent sense of dignity and self-respect.
Therefore, never say to listeners, “Since you don’t know about this subject I want to discuss it,” or “How many of you stopped to realize that . . . ? or “Please quit being prejudiced,, and listen to reason.” Such tactless remarks hurt the listeners’ self-respect and pride. They hurt the speaker’s chance of success. The tactful speaker reverses this. He uses self-respect and pride. Says he: “You remember so-and-so,” or “I’m sure you would rather listen. to pleasant facts than to pleasant fancy.”
An able persuader is not a yes-man or a namby-pamby individual. He is a positive, active personality who supports firmly, yet tactfully, the ideas and ideals which he feels are right and honest.
“Telling people off” may afford some speakers a bit of mor¬bid satisfaction, and occasionally this method may bulldoze listeners into submission, but it is not persuasive. Genuine persuasion is a process whereby listeners are led, willingly, often eagerly, to comply with a speaker’s suggestions.
Hows your approach to persuading people when you speak to them one on one or in a group, in a meeting or public speaking?
Try out out free e-course if you would like to improve your public speaking skills. Simply enter you detail on the right and have sent direct to you and get started straightaway
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
When you speak in public is being very well-spoken or more down to earth more effective?
School teachers found fault with Dizzy Dean’s baseball broadcasts because he said, “Me and Paul,” or, “He slud in at third!” But ol’ Diz is a highly effective sports announcer. Not because he makes, grammatical errors, however, but because he is informal and enthusiastic.
One of the disk jockeys at- WSM, Tennessee, is called Mr. Country Music. His style ot speaking is unusually informal.
“Well, now, how are all my pedal-pushin’ (truck driving) buddies tonight?” he’ll say. “I jist got a letter here from a feller way down in Georgie. Him and his little sugar-burger (what?) are listenin’ to us tonight. And we got a long-handled call from Montana. Way out yonder! Well, I’m sendin’ you my little red garters (regards). Hey, how about hearin’ from some of you fellers down there in Alabama? If I don’t hear pretty soon I’m comin’ down there and slap you across the face with a wet squirrel! I’m comin’ down there anyway pretty soon. I shore like them cat-head bis¬cuits and I want to sop gravy with you.”
Along with Mr. Country Music’s chatter are plenty of big hearty Santa Claus laughs. He has a tremendous following, not because his speaking is ragged, but because he. is a warm, friendly, informal, come-shake-my-hand personality.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, with highly cultured language, got the same effect. He didn’t make straight A’s in college, but he was well-educated, brilliant. And he was a master in the art of understanding. In that subject he would have made A plus. FDR knew the great masses of people like the “common touch.” He didn’t call his radio addresses White House lectures. They were fireside chats and, when he talked, listeners felt as if a friendly uncle were really chatting with them in their own homes.
When President Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he didn’t voice a new idea. Plato expressed the same thought many years ago. Others have echoed it through the years, but Roosevelt made it especially persuasive by clothing it with human qualities such as warmth, optimism, and confidence. “From the very first his self-assurance was convincing, nearly blinding with the great white light of promise it shed over the vast surrounding gloom,” said H. V. Kaltenborn.
Many dyed-in-the-wool Republicans surely didn’t vote for Franklin D. Roosevelt because he was a Democrat or because he was well-educated and used proper grammar. He was unusually persuasive rather because of excellent personal characteristics such as1 warmth, understanding, informality, friendliness, and optimism.
Some years later these personal qualities became evident in a Republican president. The simple statement, “I like Ike,” and the persona] qualities that made it true — those three little -words.—-”were far more persuasive than a book about. Eisenhower’s” education or military career would have been.
Certainly- education, and the ability to think, can contribute definitely to persuasion. But a person may have the’ combined wisdom of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and not be a persuasive speaker unless he also has personal qualities that inspire listeners to say, “I’m with you!”
Lack of warmth and human understanding kept Woodrow Wilson from being persuasive. No one would doubt his brilliancy. His logic was compelling, his arguments flawless, but he lacked that human touch which is so necessary for active per¬suasion.
One can never guess accurately what might have happened in history of course, but Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations, after World War I, might have become a reality if his human qualities had been as excellent as his brilliant mind. Persuading depends upon both feeling and thinking. And an effective speaker stimulates both. If it is ever a question of one or the other, a persuasive speaker knows people are far more likely to act because of feeling rather than thought. A combination of the two processes, however, is always highly desirable.
Effective public speaking takes some more application in using feelings and thinking to persuade an audience. But the rewards are worth it. If you want to be a more effective speaker and see the benefits for your career and/or business check out our free e-course on confident speaking by typing you details into the area to the right.
Saturday, July 16th, 2011
Last time I discussed hoe not use cold hard facts in public speaking. Now here are some examples on how to use facts to convince
Recently a student speaker in a business and professional speaking course said, “If all the insects above the earth, on the earth, beneath the earth, and in the waters of the earth were collected and stacked on top of one another they would make a heap three feet high over all the world!”
That’s a lot of bugs.
This speaker’s words created a more concrete picture than if he had said, “There are trillions of insects in the world.” But his statement was difficult for some of the listeners to believe. When they asked the source of his quotation he said, “It is generally known to scientists.” But his statement would have been more convincing if he could have named some definite authority .for it. Statements, to be facts, must have reliable sources. Other¬wise they are merely opinions.
Use facts. But don’t put many of them back to back. Rather, sprinkle them in with illustrations and quotations.
Try always to package facts in ways that will make them easy for audiences to grasp. Paint them red or put handles on them. For instance, instead of saying, “I’ve walked a long ways on golf courses,” a speaker said, “On golf courses I’ve walked the dis¬tance from Maine to California ten times.” And instead of say¬ing, “The death rate in China is high,” another speaker declared, “Every time you breathe a Chinaman dies.”
Round numbers like 1000 or even units such as two dozen are easier to grasp than 998 or 26. So when a speech situation does not demand absolute exactness a speaker should use round numbers or even units.
An interesting speaker will figure ways to turn numbers into things. For example, a bushel basket full of silver dollars is easier to see than a certain number of dollars. Anyone can see a yard¬stick easier than he can picture three feet. The distance from home plate to first base is more vivid than ninety feet. A couple of stone throws explains more than a quarter of a mile.
Clarify! Clarity is so necessary in any part of an effective speech. It is especially essential, when using facts.
Use clear, concrete, authentic, interesting facts to help convince listeners.
If you are looking for more information on how to be a confident public speaker who can convince others and hold their attention check out our free e-course by simply typing your details in the box to the right and have it delivered direct to your inbox.