One of the most pervasive obstacles to superior communication success that I have observed is that many people hear the word “persuade” or “sell” and they think that it is a manipulative behavior. Don’t let doubts undermine your communication power, and remember that persuasion is not manipulation. If you believe that you are promoting and selling ideas that offer real solutions, you are enabling your audience to succeed – and that’s something worthy of confident passion and conviction. The act of persuasion can potentially give people the answers you are aware of that they desperately need to deal with whatever real-world challenges they face. That’s one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever feel as a business leader.
Here are 5 keys to more persuasive business communication:
1. Convince the Most Important Person First
To be a convincing communicator, you first must be convinced. That is why I always emphasize the critical importance of doing internal work. It’s vital if you want to lead, engage others, and have a leadership impact and executive presence that genuinely inspires people to your point of view.
2. Be the Expert in the Room
In order to deliver those ideas, though, you have to become an expert in your domain. That requires developing yourself in whatever capacities you need to be a true authority, or whatever aspects of your leadership need strengthening to ensure persuasive credibility.
3. Use More Powerful Words
Weak language can, however, undermine the presence of even the most powerful authority. So always keep working on your language skills and using words that add value to your brand and presence. They are some of your most effective communication tools – the ammunition that will ensure that your message hits the bull’s eye of your target audience instead of watering down its impact.
4. Tap Into Triads
The power of triads or getting support from at least three other people is one of the most effective ways to sell your ideas. A triangle is one of the strongest shapes in the world, which is why the pyramids of Egypt are still standing tall. Use that social geometry by getting buy-in from others before you try to close the big sale. That will build your arguments and empower your presentations so that your communications are substantially more effective.
5. Make Them Think & Feel
You have to communicate in a logical way or your message will be weak, confusing, or garbled. Engage people’s minds so they do critical thinking. But people respond to a call to action because the words they hear affect them on an emotional level. Always leverage that emotional power in all your communications, and you’ll be a more convincing and inspiring leadership communicator.
Here’s an exercise you can do this week that will amp-up your communications. Think about one of the most compelling presentations or speeches you’ve ever heard. Maybe it was from a corporate icon like Steve Jobs, a public servant like John F. Kennedy, or a thought leader like Dr. Martin Luther King. Listen to it again and ask yourself “What specific elements make their words so persuasive?” Then try to incorporate some of those into your own executive communication.