Ahad, 21 Disember 2008

Persuasion Tips & Tactics - By Che Khairul Azli

Persuasion as the use of communication to reinforce, modify, or change attitudes, beliefs, values or actions. Hence, the persuasive speech is intended to influence these characteristics of other audience (Stiff, 1994). An effective and persuasive presentation must be focused on satisfying the needs of the audience, so that these people conclude that what is being proposed is in their best interest.

The majority of the students, even those with the highest level of anxiety at the beginning of the speech, showed the significant improvement in their own communication competence, and they also perceived the audience as more pleasant and supportive by the end of the speech. In a similar study, students were tested at the beginning and the end of the basic communication course (Rubin, Rubin, & Jordan, 1997). The course had the most favorable effect on students who started out high in communication apprehension and low communication competence.

The Tips and tactics outlined in this paperwork are not classroom theory, but instead evolve from the real world lessons I have learned speaking to demanding audiences.

First ; Believe in yourself.

We all know that audiences are drawn to a speaker with confidence. We all know that we need to have confidence as speakers. But what is this magical thing called confidence, and where does it come from? How do you gain the ability to believe in yourself and to demonstrate that belief to the whole world? Do you always have to feel confident to look confident? And is reducing anxiety the same thing as gaining confidence? Let's explore these questions and solve the mystery of this most desirable and elusive trait. First of all, what does confidence look like? A confident speaker exudes positive energy that feeds and excites the audience. A confident speaker appears strong and authoritative, but not intimidating. A confident speaker appears relaxed but not sloppy, positive but not saccharine, and knowledgeable but not arrogant. Whew! That's a lot to live up to. Confidence is both mental and physical. It's the positive way you perceive yourself, and it's the way your body projects that positive self-image. You don't have to be confident to appear confident, but the beauty of this mental and physical practice is that the more you appear confident to others, the more your confidence will grow for real. When you believe in yourself and believe in your message, your audience will, too. (Lisa, 2008).

Second ; Show your commitment about idea being discussed.

The expression ‘less is more’ is very relevant to public speaking. It is important not to tell the audience everything you know, rather tell the audience what it is that they need to know. Being able to select the best and most relevant information to include in your speech is an invaluable skill. However be careful—picking and choosing what is to be included in your speech does not mean that your speech should only deliver half the story. A good speech delivers the whole story but in a manner that is quick, clear and understandable (Booher, 1994).

A great way to engage your audience and maintain their attention is by delivering information in a way that they can relate to. When writing your speech try to think of how you can bring your topic back to the everyday. By simply dropping in a few anecdotes and using practical examples to illustrate a point, you will make it easier for your audience to understand complex issues and to actually remember what it is that you have said! (Robert, 1998).

Third ; Know your audience.

The most important aspect of public speaking is the audience. At all times during the process of preparing and delivering a speech, we need to keep in mind that we are speaking to an audience and not just to ourselves. Whether the goal is to entertain, to inform, or to persuade, we should try to reach our listeners and tailor the speech to them. Expert in public speaking say that the number one reason a speech fails to achieve its goal is because the speaker does not know his or her audience very well (St. John, 1955).

To be successful and persuasive, presentations must be audience-centered. You must know the problems of your audience because your objective is to offer them a solution. This requires in-depth-research about your audience. Keep in mind that the prime motivation for people to listen to you is their perception that your presentation will benefit them. *What's in it for me?* is the classic question of all audiences (Morreale & Bovee, 1997).

Fourth ; Balance emotional appeals with solid reasoning and credibility.

An emotional appeal is based on psychology and passion, which involves how people feel. In order for a fear appeal to be effective, it must include information that poses a real threat to listeners, and it must prescribe an effective action for handling the treat (Stiff, 1994; Witte, 1994).

To use emotional appeals effectively, you can appeal to any of variety of your listener emotions, such as love, hate, sympathy, guilt, or even fear. A fear appeal is based on changing listeners’ attitudes or behaviors through the use of an anxiety-arousing message. This type of appeal is useful in situations where you need to motivate the audience to pay attention and get more involved in your topic (Roser & Thompson, 1995).

Fifth ; Use fact, data and logic.

Professional public speakers never recite dry facts and figures. Their secret is to transform the information into a story. Facts and data are abstract and need to be translated into life situations before they matter to people and make sense. For example, the statistic that 90 percent of the mortality of a threatened frog species occurs in the tadpole stage would probably mean little to most people. Instead you can transform this fact if you allow your audience to imagine if only three out of the 30 people in the room were to survive to adulthood (Susan, 2001).

To be effective, a fact should be highly relevant to the speech topic, and it should contain enough evidence that it can stand on its own as a solid piece of information. David Slater (1998) of Wayne State University also uses a descriptive statistic to reveal what is happening to the entire group of people who need born marrow transplant.

Speak with conviction as if you really believe in what you are saying. Persuade your audience effectively. The material you present orally should have the same ingredients as that which are required for a written research paper, i.e. a logical progression from INTRODUCTION (Thesis statement) to BODY (strong supporting arguments, accurate and up-to-date information) to CONCLUSION (re-state thesis, summary, and logical conclusion) (Tammy, 1998).

Stories must allow the audience to relate to the situation and should be told in a conversational manner as though recounting the scene to a group of friends. Instead of introducing a talk on tropical plants with a dry list of species, have the audience imagine their typical morning without a drink of coffee, cocoa, or orange juice. Lead them through a whole day with no products derived from tropical plants (Susan, 2001).

Sixth ; Put material in human terms rather than technical terms.

People use rules to help sort out what certain words or phrases mean, as well as to determine what they should say next in an ongoing conversation. The former kind of rules may be called constitute and the latter regulative (Cronen, 1999).

In 1950s, Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf developed the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. This theory was based on a form of linguistic determinism – language determines what we see in the world and how we think. Persuasive speakers uses and emotional appeal when they encourage audiences to experience particular feelings in relation to selected example, quotations, numbers, and other item of evidence.

By organizing our experience, language exercises a powerful influence in our life. The language you use help you make sense of people and events in certain ways and guides how you interact with situations. Consider what happens when you choose to label a situation or a person as a ‘problem’. In most cultures, onces we label something as a problem, we are then moved to take action that ‘fix the problem’ and assign blame to person or person for problem (Volonishov/Bakhtin, 1973).

Wittgenstein’s (1953) statement “ A drop of grammer and an ocean of meaning” reflect the power of language to focus our attention: When we used word, it is associated with the whole set of other words and meanings. Take example, the case of gender. Many researchers argue that men and women are socialized into two separate language communities based on gender. Girls are be quieter, more peaceful, concerned with harmony relations and more cooperative. Boys are socialized to be athletic, assertive, focused on the self, and more competitive (Meyers, Brawshers, Winston & Crob, 1997).

All the above example should be considered once you aim to delivered the winning presentation by optimum the human term of the audience.

Seventh ; Use assertive communication technique.

The importance of mastering public speaking techniques to address audiences effectively and powerfully has been an issue since the beginnings of recorded history. The Bible's Old Testament makes no bones about the fact that the most influential prophets and leaders were those who could sway their audiences verbally. Throughout history, oratory skills have repeatedly proved to the decisive factor that turns the tide of public opinion. The Powerful oratory skills of many leaders have won wars, averted mass panic and saved companies from financial disaster. Successful public speaking involves more than just choosing the right words (though this is certainly an important factor). Effective public speaking techniques include establishing a rapport and relationship with the audience in many different ways (Buzzle.com).

The most effective public speakers make their audience comfortable in subtle, calculated ways. These ways soon become second nature as the public speaker's confidence levels rise. Among the most useful techniques is the use of humor. Cracking a joke - preferably at one's own expense - is a sure-fire means of warming up an audience. This is why orators who use humor are more effective than the serious, lecturing types. Some successful orators advocate unorthodox methods, such as speaking on a relatively empty stomach. Others even advise speakers not to empty their bladder before a speech, claiming that this maintains the necessary edge in the situation. Finally, we must all discover our own most suitable public speaking techniques. However, nothing beats practice and proper preparation before the event (Evans, 1992).

Eighth ; Use appropriate non-verbal communication techniques.

Don’t hide behind a podium. Stand where the audience can see you and talk directly to them. If you need to write on the board or point to a slide, stop talking while your back is turned, then continue. Maintain eye contact with the audience, not with your slide or prop. Some speakers like to pick out a few people in the audience in different areas of the room to focus on during their talk. Walk around and use gestures. Your enthusiasm will be contagious. Put your whole body into your presentation. Facial expressions can show enthusiasm or sorrow; body movements can indicate size or emphasize an important point (Susan, 2001).

Ninth ; Maintain your composure.

Stage fright is a horrible thing to have. It keeps you from being able to give an effective presentation in front of a group of people, and can affect you both physically and mentally. There are several different things that you can do, however, to help yourself to get over the initial stage fright that you might be feeling. Believe it or not, your stage fright will begin to disappear from the moment that you take a platform. Most people find that after the first few minutes they become a little more comfortable and then after they are into the meat of the presentation they almost forget that they are speaking to a group. You can speed up the calming process, however, by using some various breathing techniques and also by keeping yourself a little bit limber on the platform (Clair, 1998).

A lot of people use various breathing techniques in order to help themselves maintain a calm disposition. This is not only the case when it comes to public speaking but also in general health practices. There are methods, such as those practiced during yoga, that will help you to be able to draw on the strength and support that breathing deeply can provide. Most people realize that breath is actually life and you can use this knowledge to be able to calm yourself before you get up on the platform. Several very deep breaths will help you to be able to maintain your composure and to become comfortable standing in front of a group faster (Fatt, 1999).

Another thing that you can do to help to speed up the calming process is to keep yourself limber while you are giving your presentation. By limber I mean that you should gesture normally and also move about as is permitted by the theme of your presentation. You will want to avoid gestures that do not have any purpose and also from pacing whenever you are giving a presentation. I saw someone that paste 20 feet back and forth the entire time that they talked. I'll have to admit it is one of the most annoying things I have ever experienced and I got absolutely nothing out of what they were trying to say. Not only that but their speech was being videotaped and the poor cameraman had to follow him back in force for 20 minutes while he talked (Harris, 1994).

Tenth ; Use props to enhance your story, not steal the show.

According to Larry Bodine (2006), In public speaking the term "prop" is a shortened version of the theatrical term "property," a word used to describe any object handled or used by an actor in a performance. When public speaking you are a performer whether you believe it or not. You have an obligation to use whatever means necessary to get your message across to the audience.

Props help warm up the audience when you do a public speaking engagement. They can be used as a substitute for notes. They help focus attention on the speaking points you are trying to make along with illustrating them for you. They make better connections than your words with the visually oriented members of your audience. They create interest, add variety, and make your points more memorable.

Didn't someone say a prop is worth a thousand words? Maybe that was a picture, but its just about the same thing. Many times a well selected prop will illustrate your point much better than you could ever do in words. It also focuses attention directly on the point you are trying to make in your public speaking presentation because it is something novel that is occurring during the public speaking presentation. People can space out easily on your words, but a unique prop is hard to ignore. Also, the visually oriented people in your audience will perk up and get more value when you use props.

Another good reason to use props in public speaking is to stimulate memory recall. People remember pictures far longer than words. That is why the great public speakers that use stories try to use words to create images in your mind. They know the images will be remembered when the words are long forgotten. If you are not a great storyteller yet, you can use props to help create these pictures at your public speaking presentations.

When using audio-visual aids to enhance your presentation, be sure all necessary equipment is set up and in good working order prior to the presentation. If possible, have an emergency backup system readily available. Check out the location ahead of time to ensure seating arrangements for audience, whiteboard, blackboard, lighting, location of projection screen, sound system, etc. are suitable for your presentation.

And, Eleventh ; Provide reinforcement and follow through.

Build a relationship with your audience and deliver a successful presentation. That means you need to engage your audience - to build a relationship with them - often in less than an hour. You need to focus on delivering to them what they want to hear in a way that they want to hear it. Build a relationship with them by using all the components of effective communication. Start with a warm, sincere greeting. This is the first step in building any relationship and it is particularly important when establishing a relationship with your audience. And remember, trust and authenticity are critical to any relationship and this includes the relationship between speaker and audience (William Aruda, 2003).

Vocal varying your voice is critical to helping the audience understand the important points in your presentation. And speaking with enough volume will ensure that all members of the audience hear you regardless of where they are sitting. Remember the old rule of public speaking: tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them. The audience is more likely to remember the beginning of your speech, the closing and items that are repeated. So, if you think they are a bit confused, take the time to repeat key messages (Lustiq, 1993).

Dorothy Sarnoff says "Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening." It is always a good idea to leave them wanting more. So, finish early and leave extra time for Q&A. By being prepared and exuding your authentic personal brand, you will build a solid, sincere relationship with your audience, and ensure an effective performance.

Conclusion

Whether we like it or not, public speaking is something that is relevant to everyone. Whether it is experienced at school, university, your workplace or simply by making a speech at your best friend’s wedding-public speaking it seems, is an inescapable part of the everyday.

So far as fears go, public speaking ranks right up there with the worst of them. Some people go so far as to say they would rather die than give a speech in public. If you are someone that suffers from nerves, focusing on these anxieties is unproductive. For you, the best way forward is to think up strategies to control those nerves, so that they don’t control you. It is important that you find the relaxation technique that works best for you such as positive visualizations or deep breathing.


Prepared by – Che Khairul Azli Che Ahmad

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