Posts Tagged ‘persuasive power’

PowerPoint Presentation Tips: How to Keep Your Audience Tuned IN! (Part 3)

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

When you use PowerPoint, are you actually diminishing your image as an expert – or even helping your audiences tune you out?  If your answer may be YES, you need PowerPoint Presentation Tips for real speaking power.

Today’s VideoBlog gives you the solutions:  PowerPoint Presentation Tips, Part 3.   In previous blogs, I presented Tips #1 through 6.

  • Tip #7:  At any point in your presentation where you plan to move close to your audience for dramatic effect, help focus audience attention by placing a black slide in your deck.
  • Tip #8:  When you want to focus attention on yourself for a longer period of time, allow the screen to go completely dark. Use the “B” key for this.
  • Tip #9:  Always make your final slide an image slide:  this image should illustrate the inspirational closing that you will speak. 

Finally, Tip #10:  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Don’t make PowerPoint your higher power. Allow PowerPoint to support you, and not the other way around.

When you use these strategies with PowerPoint, you’ll project your own unique power.  You’ll enhance your image as an expert and your listeners will quickly realize that they cannot afford to tune you out.    You’ll have them on the edge of their seats!

Be sure to receive all my upcoming video tips!  Follow this link to my YouTube channel and hit the “subscribe” button on the right side of the screen:  https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=SuccessfulSpeaker

Demonstrate Your Ability to Be a True Business Partner: Listen Actively (Part 2)

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

Do your prospects believe that you will be a true business partner for them? To help you achieve this goal, I shared with you in my last video the first three steps of active listening. Today, I’ll share the final 2 steps.

I shared Step 1 for active listening: Blend; Step 2: Backtrack; and Step 3: Clarify.

Now, here are the final two steps:

Step 4: Summarize
Here, your goal is to show that you have listened and understood. Paraphrase what your partners have just said. Say something like, “So, if I understand you correctly…xyz. Paraphrase their meaning as accurately and concisely as you can.

Step 5: Confirm
Here, your objective is to be sure that your conversation partner feels satisfied. Ask: “Do you feel understood? Is there anything else?”

When you use the five steps of active listening (Blending, Backtracking, Clarifying, Summarizing and Confirming), you’ll be better able to convince your prospects that you’ll be a true business partner for them.

That’s a strategy for building relationships and generating business.

Increase Harmony in Challenging Conversations: Part 2

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

When you’re in the middle of a challenging business conversation, and you’re certain that your tone of voice has been “above reproach”, what else can you do to increase harmony?

I recently talked with you about the importance of monitoring your tone of voice to increase harmony in challenging conversations.  Here are three more strategies to help guarantee your success: 

#1: Give positive reinforcement.

We often need to continue having business conversations with people whom we have already experienced to be difficult.  Be on the lookout for their positive behavior, and acknowledge it verbally.  Whenever you witness behavior that you would like to see repeated, you can say something like, “That’s one of the things I admire about you:  your ability to ___”.    Identify the positive behavior; praise it. 

#2:  Interrupt people tactfully when they are shouting, dominating a conversation or meeting, or complaining with increasing negativity

Calmly repeat the person’s name over and over again.  When the person stops speaking, state or restate your own intention in the conversation. 

#3:  Respond to criticism strategically.

Thank people when they criticize you.  When we defend ourselves, it often  appears to be an admission of guilt.  Instead, you can say something like,  “Thank you for telling me how you feel”, or “Thank you for being honest”, or just “Thank you.”   “Thank you” is a complete sentence! 

When you monitor your communication in these three ways, you’ll help bring out the best in people, increase harmony, and set the stage for greater success in challenging business conversations.

 

 

Building Credibility When You Speak: The Value of “Acting Objectives”

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

Savvy professionals apply acting techniques to help enhance their credibility and gravitas when they speak for business.  They know that they need to build belief within the listeners, so they borrow techniques that actors have used for decades.  So can you.

Crafted actors spend years perfecting a craft that is designed to build belief.  This is why advertisers so often rely upon actors and their craft:  they understand that actors’ techniques and performance skills are fundamental to the business of selling any idea, product, or service.

When actors are preparing a role, they make careful choices about what actions to take, to help the audience believe that the make believe situation is real.  For actors, it’s all about actions; for actors, actions speak much louder than words.

To prepare, actors create “acting objectives”.  These are actions that lie underneath the words – actions they plan to take toward their listeners.  This helps actors to be motivated to speak the words that the playwright or screenwriter wrote, and speak them truthfully, authentically, and conversationally.

In rehearsal and performance, actors pursue their acting objectives as if their lives depended on it.   This helps the audience believe that the actor and the character are one and the same:  that the actor IS the character.

This applies to you when you speak for business for two important reasons:

  1. You want your business listeners to believe something: to believe that you have solutions to their problems, for example.  The more rigorously you pursue your actions (your acting objectives), the more completely your audience will believe:  believe that you and your message are one and the same; believe that you are your message.
  2. Whenever you are speaking for business, when you make listeners believe, they are very likely to overlook minor shortcomings or mistakes you might make.

Throughout my acting career, and as a professional speaker, I have occasionally neglected to rehearse with the use of acting objectives.  Invariably, whenever I have neglected to use this technique, I lost the acting job or failed to engage my business listeners.

Your business speaking/presentations will never be perfect; there will always be something to improve upon and something that you might consider to have been slightly “negative” in your “performance”.   Without the use of acting objectives in your preparation, you significantly reduce your ability to make business listeners believe.  When that happens, your listeners have little to focus on BUT the negative.

Once you have helped your business listeners believe, you’ve won them over to your side.  After that, they will forgive you almost anything!

 

Engage Listeners With the Power of the Pause (“Let Your Ideas Land”, Part 3)

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

 

Would you like your business listeners to be drawn IN when you speak?  Would you like them to feel eager to hear what you’re going to say next?

If your answer is YES, you need the power of the pause.  Successful business speakers, like good actors, always consider pacing when they are going to speak.  The tempo of your spoken word has a strong impact on your listeners and directly influences their level of engagement and influences the way you are perceived.  Your pauses are key.

Even the smartest and best listeners need a moment to process a spoken idea.  When you listeners can see you, they need time to interpret meaning from a broad palette:  your visual delivery, as well as vocal delivery.  Your pauses can give them the time they need.

A University of Michigan study revealed that when speakers never paused, they had the lowest success rate in getting listeners to do what they wanted them to do.  And the great British actor, Sir John Gielgud, famously said that, when acting Shakespeare, the pauses are the most important moments of the speech!  He knew that pauses can be captivating.

Help your business listeners receive the full impact of your message by giving them the gift of time.  Pause briefly after each complete thought, to let it “land”.  Don’t be in a rush to go on to your next idea.  Another benefit of the pause is that it gives you time to get a reading on your listener’s understanding and engagement level.  During the pause, breathe deeply and maintain eye contact.

During the pause, your listeners will usually be wondering why you’ve paused and wondering what you’re going to say next.  So, your pauses increase listener curiosity and engagement level, and they make you more compelling.

Without the pauses, your listeners may feel overwhelmed by an unmanageable amount of input.  They may lose some of your meaning; they may even tune you out.

When you give your listeners time to process each thought, you are respecting their needs, communicating that your message has value, and drawing them IN.

Never underestimate the power of the pause!

 

Can You Be Too Honest to Sell?

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

I recently read that Abraham Lincoln co-owned a general store for a short period of time and that his store failed because he “wasn’t a very good salesperson”;  he was “frequently a little too honest about his products…”

I began thinking again about the qualities of a good salesperson, the relationship between honesty and successful selling, and why that story might be of interest to so many professionals.

Almost everyone in the world of work is a salesperson. Whether we are business owners, work for a corporation, or bring our talents to other professional areas, we are all involved (directly or indirectly) in selling ideas, products, or services.

Only the naïve believe that success in business is always accompanied by strict honesty at all times, but the old adage “honesty is the best policy” is usually a wise goal. We cannot be all things to all people and cannot be all things for all clients and prospects. We can certainly try our best, and if we cannot deliver, we can offer to clients and prospects alternative sources to find solutions.

Of course, some who are dedicated to enhancing/maintaining their professional image have been known to bend the truth quite a bit and often make a lot of money doing so. Many years ago, the adult grandson of a restaurant manager told me a true story that I have never forgotten. The restaurant was part of one of the biggest and most successful hotels located in the Catskill Mountains during the 1950’s. One night, when the restaurant was filled to capacity, a diner who was seated with a large group of people started screaming, because she found an enormous cockroach in her food. The manager rushed over to the table, saw the cockroach, and knew that the restaurant could now lose not only these customers, but the ones seated at the surrounding tables. With a grand gesture, he immediately grabbed a spoon, removed the cockroach from the woman’s plate, and popped the insect into his own mouth, chewing and swallowing with delight. Smiling broadly, he loudly proclaimed, “That was no cockroach, Madam. That was our most exotic mushroom, a true delicacy imported from Asia!”

How far would you go, to salvage your professional image and keep your sales moving forward?

Command Attention with the Surprising Pause

Monday, July 30th, 2012

http://youtu.be/Y6J2tqiXENc

In my last blog, I wrote about your use of pauses, to allow your ideas to land when you speak & engage your listeners.

Today, I’m going to talk about the power of the surprising pause. Successful business speakers, like good actors, use the surprising pause strategically to command attention and add depth to their message. The element of surprise is a key factor in capturing and keeping your listeners’ attention when you speak for business. Pausing at meaningful and surprising moments can be helpful to you in three ways:

1.   It creates variety in your delivery:  A moment of unexpected silence provides the greatest contrast to a stream of words.

2.   It creates suspense:  It teases your listeners for a moment, making them want to hear more.

3.   It gives your listeners a window into your inner world:  Listeners want to know what is “going on” with the speaker underneath the words.  A surprising pause filled with meaning allows your listeners to observe a different quality in your expressiveness and gain additional perspectives.

In the video version of this blog, I demonstrate now just how effective a surprising pause can be. You may wish to view that now; simply click the thumbnail for the video.

If you prefer to continue reading:
I use the following sentence as an example of the use of the surprising pause. It’s a sentence about concept of supply and demand: an excerpt from a play called Other People’s Money, by Jerry Sterner; which was first produced Off Broadway and later made into a film with Richard Dreyfus.  Here is the sentence:
“One day, when the dollar is weaker or the yen stronger, or when we finally begin to rebuild the roads, the bridges, the infrastructure of our country, demand will skyrocket.”

Logical but predictable moments to pause would be after the words, “day, stronger, and country”.   A more interesting choice would be to add meaningful pauses after the words, “dollar, yen, and demand”.   The surprise and suspense created in those moments leads to a more compelling delivery.

As you rehearse your business talk, consider why and when you will pause. Take logical, meaningful pauses at moments when those pauses might be most surprising.

Make your delivery truly compelling —  and captivate your listeners!

Step Two, for How to Engage Your Listeners by Allowing Your Ideas To Land When You Speak

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

 

http://youtu.be/i1N1BQxryVU

In today’s blog, I’ll write more about how to keep your listeners engaged by allowing your ideas to land when you speak.

Last time, I wrote about Step One in this process:   Speak in thought groups.  Today, I’ll write about Step Two: Pursue your point with energy and focus.  I’ll share some early advice given to me by one of my teachers:   the late Mira Rostova, (who for many years was coach to the great film actor, Montgomery Clift).

One of the most common mistakes speakers make is to put focus on (to stress) each word – or too many words — within a complete thought.   Speakers who do this are usually attempting to be clear, but the result is often a delivery that sounds unfocused, pedantic, or even condescending.   While every word that you speak “counts” and should be understood by the listener, take time to consider which of your words should receive focus and which should not.

Prepare with these three strategies:

1.  Review your notes and identify the focus word of each complete thought. Remember that the more words you stress, the more you lose focus and clarity — so be very discriminating as you choose your focus words.  Make word-stress choices in creative ways that add depth and an interesting perspective to your ideas.  This can add an element of surprise to your delivery, which is very engaging.

2. Underline the focus words of each complete thought.

3. Rehearse aloud, stressing only the focus words of each complete thought. Put your attention on your focus words.   Keep them at the forefront of your mind, and pursue them energetically as you speak.   My late teacher, Mira Rostova, used to  say, “Go for the point! Go for the point!”   Mira was talking about pursuing your point with focus and energy.  Rehearsing this way will help you drive your ideas and will prepare you for the third and final step in this process.

So, be sure to read my next blog:  Step Three for How To Engage Your Listeners by Allowing Your Ideas to Land When You Speak.

How to Sound Authoritative & Reduce Your Use of “Fillers”

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

http://youtu.be/dDo238t9Ik0

One way to sound authoritative and enhance your credibility when you speak is to minimize your use of fillers:  those words that add no content.  Common fillers are “um”, “uh”, “so”, “well”, “like”, and “you know”.

Fillers often distract your listeners and decrease your ability to project confidence and authority.  Minimizing your use of fillers will help you enhance your image as an expert.

To minimize your use of fillers, rehearse this technique that actors use when they prepare to speak extemporaneously:

Set a timer for increasing time periods of time:  two minutes, five minutes, or seven minutes to start.  Record yourself as you speak in extended sentences on any business topic of your choice.  Choose a topic that you know well, something you enjoy speaking about (but not your elevator speech or a sales pitch).

As you speak into the recorder, imagine that each word that comes from your mouth is connected to the next one, which is connected to the next one, and so on.  Use the image of a long strand of pearls that are connected with no break.

Whenever you feel the urge to use a filler, do these three things:

  1. Stop yourself
  2. Pause
  3. Say the filler silently to yourself

When the timer rings, play back the recording and monitor yourself for fillers.  Then repeat the exercise with different topics.

As you become comfortable with this exercise, increase the setting on the timer (five minutes, ten minutes, and fifteen minutes), until you can speak for twenty minutes straight, extemporaneously, on new topics:  without the use of fillers.

If you continue to rehearse this technique, you will find over time that you are reducing the number of fillers that you use.

You will sound more authoritative than you did in the past:  you will increase your credibility and your professional image when you speak.

 

 

 

Three Networking No-No’s

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

At networking events, do you fail to project the image you desire? Do you find it difficult to turn networking conversations into relationships that lead to sales?

It may be because you are not speaking strategically to project a spirit of cooperation.

Here are some “Networking No-No’s” (behaviors that work against a spirit of cooperation):

Doing most of the talking and/or interrupting your conversation partner: Instead, find out about the other person.  Ask questions, listen actively, and  respond with words and body language.  Mirror back to the speaker what you have understood him/her to say.  Let your conversation partner do most of the talking!

Trying to sell your products/services: Instead, give before you get. Listen for ways that you can help your conversation partner. Offer introductions, suggestions, information, invitations, volunteering, advice, etc.  This increases the likelihood that your listener will want to collaborate and reciprocate!

Being carelessly “broad”  in attempting humor with people you’ve just met: Instead, when using humor, stick to self-deprecating humor. Remember that individual sense of humor (influenced by culture and other complex factors) is a delicate and mysterious phenomenon. If you tell a joke or make a comment in jest that the listener doesn’t understand, misconstrues, or simply does not find funny, your attempt at humor may backfire. When you wish to use humor with a new acquaintance, poke fun at yourself. Most people will appreciate your humility and ability to take yourself lightly.

When networking, be a “smart talker” in the true sense of the word.  Project a spirit of cooperation and begin building relationships that lead to sales!