Persuasive speaking is feared by many as being manipulative or pushy. But what if you could learn persuasive speaking in a way that felt completely natural, completely authentic and completely sleaze-free?
In part 2 of Ginger’s 4-part persuasive speaking guide we investigate how to see persuasive speaking as “Authentic Allowing” –
Why are we afraid of persuasive speaking?
Persuading sounds an awful lot like selling; difficult and dirty and car salesman-ish. Persuasive speaking brings to mind ‘lead generation’ and ‘adding zeros to your monthly income’ and ‘closing the deal’. The idea of being too pushy can lead to nervousness and anxiety; the thought that people will find you disingenuous can be terrifying. The feeling of being manipulative or hard nosed and pushing the “hard sell” can push your comfort levels to the limit. Which in turn increases anxiety and makes for a less than persuasive speech.
Going over-the-top or in your face is the best way to persuade right? Not exactly. Not even a little bit. This aggressive technique is one that savvy consumers are more than used to dealing with. (Think telemarketers or traveling salesman – yuck!). Audiences have developed many defense mechanisms around this type of behavior. Think of times when your phone rang during dinner and you hung up on a person pestering you about new siding for your house. Think of a car salesman pushing for the sale who really just ended up pushing you away. They want the sale and that’s all. Besides, if you speak like that, you can’t look yourself in the mirror.
And that’s why we go completely the other way and avoid persuasive speaking altogether.
What’s the solution then? Reframe the way you view persuasive speaking. It doesn’t have to be sleazy selling – we can find a place of authentically allowing people to ‘purchase’ our idea or product. It’s called Authentic Allowing…
The three Key Thoughts of Authentic Allowing:
There are three things you should tell yourself to help turn your persuasive speaking from sleazy selling to authentic allowing:
1) I have something important to give – I’m not only ‘taking’ from my audience.
How much do you believe in your message? Your information has value for your audience and if you believe in your message then your audience will as well. The act of public speaking is all about giving. Giving a voice and face to the information your audience needs. Don’t downplay or belittle the act of giving.
2) If I’m myself whilst trying to be persuasive, the process will be more powerful for all of us.
Nothing speaks more to persuasion than just being yourself. If YOU value it (the message of your speech), then the audience will value it also. No gimmicks or games or catchy cliches necessary; simply being genuine packs more of a wallop than the “hard sell”.
3) If I don’t ask, nothing’s going to happen.
You’ll never know if you never try. If you believe in the message you’ve created in your public speech, then perhaps (more often than not) it will hold value for an audience. What’s the worst that could happen? You’re no worse off than you were before and just maybe you’ll have touched someone in a real authentic way. It matters not the topic, what does matter is your belief in the topic.
How to become a Persuasive Speaker:
Persuasive speaking exercise 1: Find your motivation.
It’s easy to procrastinate when something’s not urgent. In my lazy moments I often have the thought, “It’s only me I’m letting down and that’s not such a problem”, which is an easy way to avoid persuading others to join your workshop, buy your product, or change their minds about something. But consider – weren’t you doing what you do for a good reason? Just how many people are you not benefiting by failing to enroll them in your message?
Find the real reason why you want to persuade and it’s no longer sleazy, it’s authentic and beneficial.
Persuasive speaking exercise 2: Finding yourself
The most persuasive speaker is also an authentic speaker, so find a way to be yourself when you’re persuading. Ask yourself: what kind of Persuasive Speaker do I want to be? – Pick 5 words from the list below:
“As a persuasive speaker I want to be”…
Persuasive speaking exercise 3: Preparing to ask!
An essential mindset of the persuasive speaker is that you shift from avoiding having an impact to unashamedly being ready to ask.
Imagine you’ve just finished a speech or presentation and your audience have loved what you just said. What now? Do see yourself saying, “Thank you very much” and dash out of the room? Or do you stand unafraid in the impact you’ve just created and ask your audience to do something different as a result of what you’ve said? I think we both know which is more persuasive!
Get yourself ready to persuade by taking the decision that you want your audience to be moved by what you say. It’s a scary place to step into for the first time, but when you’re there you realise that you do have the power to change people’s minds. And if your motivation is right, if you have an important reason why you would want to persuade, then you might as well get ready to do it.
This is the new approach to persuasive speaking that we’re going to talk more about in the next four parts of the Persuasive Speaking Guide. Watch this space.