Want to Become A Better Public Speaker?
Want to Become A Better Public Speaker?
Following graduate school, I traveled a bit. After a few months, I joined my peers in the professional work force. Within a couple weeks I quickly realized several things. The most obvious, real people are much more difficult to deal with. The lessons I learned in school were valuable. However, real people (I quickly noticed) were nothing like the cases we read in our text books. Real people are much more complicated, and less predictable.
On a daily basis we interact with managers, colleagues, clients, and strangers. Clearly communicating with persons of different cultures, educational backgrounds, and overall different life experiences can be rather challenging. It is this difficulty of interacting with a variety of individuals that makes the art of persuasion so appealing. We’re all human, and we all have our differences. It is these differences that create quarrel among us.
In mastering the skill of persuasion we can share ideas with others, and navigate through conversations in an artful fashion. This results in a more efficient, and less stressful form of communication.
The first step to becoming persuasive is acquiring influence. Influence paves the way to persuading those around us. We are all influenced at some level by our environment. Whether it’s our peers, family, or the stranger who held the door for you this morning. Influence is the force at work backstage when attempting to persuade those we interact with daily. Becoming influential, and harnessing the skill of persuasion, will guide you through potentially tough and stressful situations throughout your daily life. These skills— more importantly— will help you move up the ladder at work, school, and your community.
There are several different principles that can aid you on your journey. The one I will be sharing with you today is called the Liking Principle. As we’ve already discussed, having influence on the community around us is not only an acquired gift, but a huge social tool. The liking principle is centered around this concept: If you get someone to like you, you can influence them, and ultimately persuade them.
Below are tips that have helped me throughout my daily interactions with work related personnel, strangers, and close friends. Although there are many other ways to accomplish the same task, I’m sure; these are the ones I have found to be of great value. These 3 Keys, briefly described, will aid you in becoming more likable, and ultimately more influential; adding a persuasive tool to your social tool box.If you get someone to like you, you can influence them, and ultimately persuade them. Click To Tweet
1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain
Criticism gets us nowhere. It puts us on the defensive, making it difficult to reach the root of any problem. It is human instinct to try and justify ourselves when criticized. This deters us from viewing situations with an open mind, and the inability to collaborate with others in finding a solution.
In psychology, it is well known that animals rewarded for good behavior learn quicker, and retain learned behavior more effectively than animals punished for bad behavior. The same applies to humans. By criticizing others, we fail to make lasting changes and often incur resentment.
The psychologist Hans Selye said, “As much as we thirst for approval, we dread condemnation.” In my experience, criticism often demoralizes, and still doesn’t correct or provide a solution to actions condemned. In his book, How To Win Friends & Influence People, Dale Carnegie reminds us that humans are “creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”
No one likes a person who complains. Let’s not criticize, condemn, or complain about others actions. Instead, it is much more profitable to try and understand them; where they are coming from, and how we can collaboratively create a solution. This breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness.
- How to:
- Think before you speak.
- Be cautious when your friends partake in the 3 C’s. We tend to mirror our friends’ behaviors. Check yourself, or remove yourself from temptation.
- When tempted to criticize: Instead try and understand, keep a pleasant tone, and use simple reminders highlighting the benefits of the solution to others.
Actions speak louder than words, or so they say. This has been proven time and time again in my daily interactions with people. No action speaks louder than a genuinely bright smile. A smile say’s “I like you, you make me happy, and I am glad to see you.”
Here is an example. Have you ever had a baby smile at you? If you’re like most people, within seconds you’ll find yourself smiling back. The same applies when dealing with adults. It’s almost a reflex.
Now, don’t show up with a huge smile on your face when attending a funeral; you’re smarter than that. Be aware of your surroundings. Assess the current situation, and apply this simple technique when it is appropriate.
Most people you encounter—when greeted with a smile— will be inclined to smile back. Your smile will be sending a message of goodwill. Your smile will brighten the lives of all who witness it. In a world that is often clouded by darkness, your smile will be the light of hope and encouragement.
An ancient Chinese proverb teaches us this simple lesson: “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”
So smile, spread your positive influence to all who surround you; it’s contagious.
- How to:
- Greet everyone with a Smile.
- If you’re sad or unhappy, fake it till you make it. Action’s and feelings go together. If you control the action, the feeling is soon to follow.
- Keep good eye contact
- Smile while having a phone conversation; research suggests that your smile comes through in your voice.
3. Be a good listener
Listening. I mean true listening, is a valuable skill that keeps on giving. The listening I’m referring too, means not trying to come up with a rebuttal while the other person is attempting to prove their point. It includes less talking on your part, and more asking of key questions that encourage the other person to continue sharing. Active listening means that while you are hearing the words come out of the other person’s mouth, you are genuinely trying to understand where they’re coming from. This type of listening, is probably one of the most influential and knowledge building skills a master of persuasion can have.
Most people are more interested in talking about themselves, their experiences, and interests, then hearing yours. They care less about what you have to say, and more about what they can share with you. If we’re honest, we have all done or experienced this at some level.
We crave interested listeners so we can expand our egos, and share experiences. Often however, being heard is not good enough. Deep inside, most of all, we desire to be understood. For someone to get us.
We can help someone feel important and understood by practicing a few simple strategies.
- How to:
- In a conversation: Repeat back to the person what you understood from what they shared. This will help them see that you are engaged, and really trying to understand their point of view.
- In conversation: Encourage them to talk about themselves. Use the person’s interests as talking points.
- When listening: Think of nothing else, but putting yourself in the person’s shoes. This will help you sympathize with them, and understand them better.
- When greeting them: Remember their name. This will impress, and assure them that they are important to you.
We live in a world where everyone wants to complain and share their point of view. Everyone wants to give advice, but has a hard time following it. In order to influence others, we need to stand out. Be different. Take another approach. Otherwise, we just blend into the chaos. By implementing and practicing the 3 keys shared above, you will certainly become more influential.
If you paid attention, you will have also noticed something interesting— All of these keys have one common property; they’re all a form of service.
Like it or not, serving others yields the most influence, and influence yields persuasion. This should encourage us to format our lives in a way that serves others. Ultimately, it will be the act of intentional service that will win us the most influence.
My hope is that the insight you’ve gained today will not only empower, but inspire you to contribute in building a better world. That you use your influence for the betterment of others. By not partaking in the 3C’s, smiling at someone who needs it, and truly listening to individual necessities, you’ll gain influence— but more than that— you’ll acquire knowledge that can change circumstances if used correctly.
If you seek more detailed information on this topic, I recommend you read Dale Carnegie’s book, How To Win Friends & Influence People.
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