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Want to improve your speaking to persuade? … 

 Consider your audience


In this Tip Number 12 of the 30 Speaking Tips, we will look at persuasion and how important it is to consider your audience if you want to be successful.

You need to connect with your audience.  They have to feel that you have their best interests in mind, not just your own agenda.  While you are speaking to them, it has to be apparent that you care about them and what they want and need.  Otherwise you lose their trust.

Use your speaking skills to create the connection with your audience and engage them.  Use stories and humour.  Interact with them.  Call back to incidents or people they know.  You have to have engagement in order to begin the process of persuasion. 

You also need to know your audience if you are to have their own interests in mind.  This means you will have researched them before you speak so that you can tailor your presentation to them.  You need to have some idea of who they are, and what needs they have that you can meet.  In many ways there will be similarities among these.  You can find those and speak to them. 

There will also be differences, particularly in terms of what works to persuade them.  Some people are motivated by work and what they can do to improve their lives and the way they do things.  Others are motivated by emotion.  Still others need data.  While they will be moved emotionally, they need the solid proof before they will commit.  So try to use as many different styles of persuasion as you can so that you appeal to all the different types of people in your audience. 

You will also find that there are certain people who are responding positively to your presentation.  You can tell by their body language, maybe they smile and nod or have their heads on one side responding to what you say.  Maybe they are just natural encouragers, or maybe they are really carried along with you.  Either way they have a positive effect on those around them.  Concentrate on these people.  Those who are negative may respond to your methods of persuasion, and that is fine, but it you focus on them, you become frustrated for a start, but you also draw attention to them and their negativity may rub off on those around them more than it would have.  So work the little circles of positivity so that support for your argument spreads.

So get to understand your audience.  Research them, watch them and work with them, in order to persuade them


©Bronwyn Ritchie
If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:
Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, writer, award-winning speaker and trainer. She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. Get her 30 speaking tips FREE and boost your public speaking mastery over 30 weeks.  Join now or go to



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