When you are speaking in public, your job is to inspire people to take action and move the listener towards a specific goal. In fact, when you look at most of the successful CEO’s and business leaders in the world, you will see that they have all mastered the art of speaking and persuasion. This is why you will need to develop this skill if you want your career to excel.
Persuasion is the fabric of most people’s presentations. And yet many live in the illusion that they are not good at it but might have to master that particular skill eventually. When you are a public speaker, you are also doing sales because you are selling your idea to the audience.
What Is Persuasion?
Let’s do a quick study of the meaning of these two words because in order to understand the terms fully, we are also going to look at the word “buy”, the antonym of sale. Here are the basic definitions of these three important terms:
1. Persuasion = arguments, urging, advice, influence
2. Sale = trade, vending, deal, transaction. A sale is the act of selling a product or service in return for money or other compensation. It is an act of completion of a commercial activity.
3. Buy = get, obtain, procure, acquire, purchase, pay money for.
When you are being hired as a sales speaker, you need to be a skillful sales artist. You have to be sincere, truthful, open, and have a win-win solution in mind. You have to want your customer get or obtain what he/she wants. That is the only way, sales people succeed in the long run.
You as a presenter have to be able to help solve your audiences problems. They have to get from you clear and proven solutions, tactics, ideas, techniques and strategies that will help them improve their lives, health or business. If they get what they want, you will automatically get what you want: your audience will remember you long after you spoke, they will recommend you. They will promote you through mouth to mouth advertising; the best marketing there is. That is how you will climb the successful speaker ladder.
Persuasion in speaking is not enough anymore. Today you cannot stand in front, plead your case, present your ideas and hope for the best. In our fast paced, complicated, information overloaded era you need to be able to give your audience value. Something useful, easy, practical that will help them solve whatever they are struggling with.
Speakers Provide Solutions
The big question is: Do you know what solutions your audience is looking for? Most speakers do not! Do exactly as successful sales people would, prepare for the close! Before you even start putting your presentation together you need to ask and research very important questions concerning your audience:
- What do they already know about the topic, what would they like to know and what do they need to know?
- Will they be positive or negative toward my recommendations, results, ideas and techniques?
- What can I present so that they are open, understand and positively react to what I have to say?
- How can they implement my plans, solutions, recommendations, so that they win.
Great speakers are also successful sales people. They make sure their audiences win big, receive more than they expected and are able to make changes in their lives that bring them closer to their dreams. A successful speaker is remembered long after he/she has spoken. They understand the sales process and apply it to all their speeches; and this is how they become famous.
Patterns In Persuasive Speeches
There are a couple of patterns that are particularly useful for persuasive speeches that is important to examine. The first is a “need plan”. Like some of the other patterns, “need plan” is not overly complicated. The first main point establishes the need for the change for which you are advocating. The second main point details your plan for accomplishing that change. If the need is well-known, then you probably won’t have to spend as much time explaining why it changes necessary and you can dedicate more time to sharing the details of your plan.
If the importance and immediacy of the need are not as clear to the audience, then you’ll have to spend more time establishing the need and likely won’t have time to get into quite as detailed a description of your plan. The discussion of your plan should also lay out the practicality of your proposal. In other words, you need to demonstrate for the audience that your plan will solve more problems than it creates.
Monroes Motivated Sequence
Monroe’s motivated sequence is the other organizational pattern that is specifically geared for persuasion. Advertisers have been using Monroe’s motivated sequence for more than half a century because it’s particularly effective at eliciting immediate action from the audience. Motivated sequence follows a five step pattern.
The first step is attention, where the speaker grabs the attention of the audience and lays out the goals of the speech. Next in the need step, the speaker provides a description of the problem and describes what may happen if the audience does not take action. Third, the speaker outlines their proposed solutions and addresses any anticipated objections in the satisfaction step. The fourth step is visualization. Here, the speaker asks the audience to visualize the potential positive outcomes of action and negative outcomes of inaction. Using vivid imagery to detail each. Finally, the speaker pushes the audience toward action with a direct appeal and provision of specific and preferably immediate action steps.
Did any of that seem familiar? Again, advertisers have been using Monroe’s motivated sequence for decades because it can elicit a strong response from the audience when employed effectively. However, you choose to apply the strategies and patterns of persuasion and your persuasive speech. It’s important to allow for an appropriate amount of planning and preparation. Persuasion is rarely ever simple, even if you’re just trying to talk your friends into eating out at a restaurant. As a sales speaker, if you want to close more deals, then you must master every step of this technique.