Monday, June 22, 2009

7 Easy Tips for Greater Persuasion

Here they are, short and sweet:

1. Relax by detaching from the outcome. You're there to present your case and you know it's a good one. If they do not wish to accept your premise, that's their problem. If you push, the other is likely to push back against you. Who knows - they might come to their senses later.

2. Cut it short. If you're supposed to speak for 10 minutes, make it 7. Your audience will be forever grateful.

3. Remember the power pause. If you ask the audience a legitimate (not rhetorical) question, wait for them to answer. Get used to handling silence in the conversation.

4. Don't read to your audience, unless it's an incredibly powerful quote. Reading makes people sleepy. If you're on television and have a teleprompter, then that's different.

5. Don't tell your audience how hard you worked to prepare this presentation. Pleeeze.

6. Think of an unexpected prop to make a point. Audiences love surprises and really get when you make a concrete example of something. I once brought a set of hand-made ornately decorated silver measuring spoons to a presentation to show how art elevates the value of even a common kitchen tool. Fortunately my grandmother, who gave me this set of measuring spoons, had left the price tag on -- $21 -- thus adding even greater credibility to my argument.

If you can think of a way to use the prospect's or client's product as a prop, that would be excellent.

7. Keep your mission simple. If it's your first time to meet with these people, they're not likely to sign a multimillion dollar P O today. A legitimate persuasion goal is to get the next appointment, find out the next key person, learn more about the real budget and deadline.

Persuasion. Like a lot of things, when you focus on being yourself and helping your audience, you suddenly become a heck of a lot more persuasive.