5 Tips to Be a More Persuasive Speaker


Quite often, public speaking involves a significant part of persuasion. Think about it, you often need to persuade your team, an investor or a client during these talks. But let’s first draw a clear line between persuasion and manipulation. Persuasion is more of a gentlemans game (or gentlewomen’s, if you will), that has to deal with facts, and presenting them in such a way that will make your audience understand fully when the information is laid out before them. In Dave Lakhani’s book “Persuasion: The Art of Getting What our Want” he offers this quote that makes a clear line between manipulation and persuasion.

“Persuasion is about creating an environment that lets two or more people find common ground and beliefs. The fine line between persuasion and manipulations revolves around intent. Typically persuasion has a very positive connotation while manipulation does not”

Let’s now take a look at 5 pieces of advice we at 24Slides think to be the most important when trying to be an effective persuasive speaker.

1. Personalize and Relate

Being able to personalize a situation will let your audience see that you are on “their level”.  Relate and connect with them.  Find common ground and go play on it, it is arguably the most important aspect of being persuasive. No one will be persuaded by someone they don’t like and cannot relate to, regardless of how well they speak or how prepared they are.

Someone they can relate to and someone who personalizes the meeting will be listened to more carefully, which will drop the audience’s guard and allow real communication to occur.  Check out Slideshop’s Blog about connecting with your audience to read more on this.

2. Facts And Opinions

When dealing in persuasion, facts and opinions, although opposites, are both important and instrumental in being effective to deliver your message effectively.  Firstly, facts show that you know what you are talking about and are well researched in the area of presentation.  When using facts, cite your good sources to show your audience you are well researched.  Secondly, opinions will show your audience that you are not a machine, and have a personal opinion on the matter and will help with you connecting and relating to your audience.  Be humble when discussing your opinions, and ask for feedback and your audiences opinions.

3. Credibility 

Credibility is vital for the persuader. Be knowledgeable in the topic of discussion, and offer your sources as points of reference for them.  Also, offer your relevance within the subject whether it be your educational background, or years of experience on the job, or whatever instances that give you credibility in regards to the topic. Do not introduce it in a way which seems snobbish, but in such a way that gently let’s the audience know that you are well informed and that your  words are, and should be taken as facts.

4. Addressing Opposing Views

The persuader needs to be addressing and refuting, opposing views on the topic of discussion. Find weaknesses within the opposing arguments logic or reasoning and casually introduce it to your audience and let them make their own conclusions.  Drawing your own conclusion after introduction the facts will make you seem desperate for conformity and overly eager to persuade.

5. Talk to them, Not at them

No one likes to be lectured to, especially people who are lectured at constantly.  Instead, personalize and talk to them as you would a friend, someone you’re lending advice to.  Be humble, be honest, and engage them in a conversation by asking for their opinions and their thoughts on the topic.  Making it a conversation instead of a lecture will communicate the fact that you care about their opinions and are genuinely trying to come up with the best solution, instead of just laying facts on them and hoping that they agree with your argument.  This will establish a bond with the audience that will again, break down their walls and allow your argument’s to be better related to and understood.

Up to you now! Try these tips out, and let us know which you think work the best, and which may not work so well.  Do you have any persuasion tips? Lets hear them in the comments below.