Presenting technical concepts
Using notes when presenting – best practice
Persuasion is the top objective of the majority of speakers and presenters. If you can successfully persuade an audience of your opinion, then they are more likely to act as you wish them to.
Your success in persuading an audience to agree with your opinion is likely to be influenced by thousands, if not millions of micro factors. Some of these factors you can control, and many you cannot.
As a speaker, there are lots of things that you can do to increase your chances of successfully persuading your audience. You can construct content that supports your argument. You can deliver with passion and authenticity. You can even try and negate the influence of any bad mood that your audience might be experiencing, by starting with a little humour or making the speaking environment as comfortable as possible.
These are just three things that you as a speaker can do to increase your chances of successfully persuading your audience. I am sure that you can think of many more. Indeed, whole books have already been written on the topic.
If I had to chose one technique above all others, to recommend as the best way of successfully persuading your audience to agree with your opinion, then it would be to include a ‘Yes’ question early on within your speech.
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What is a ‘Yes’ question?
A ‘Yes’ question is a question that you ask the audience where the answer is obviously, "Yes!".
For example, when speaking on the power of investing, you might say to the audience, "Raise your hand if you would like to learn how to earn a thousand pounds in just 60 minutes?"
It is highly likely that the majority of your audience would be interested in learning how to make one thousand pounds in just 60 minutes. They will raise their hands in response to your question. They will, say ‘Yes’.
Why is a ‘Yes’ question great for successfully persuading an audience?
Using ‘Yes’ questions is a great way of successfully persuading an audience for the following reasons.
Asking your audience to interact and engage with you as a speaker quickly ensures that they are engaged and paying attention to your speech. If you have their attention, then your message will be heard, and you are on your way to successfully persuading your audience.
By raising their hands to agree to your ‘yes’ question, your audience are already (consciously and unconsciously) giving positive endorsement to you as a speaker, and are moving to a mindset of agreement. They are more likely to be favourable to you, your topic and your arguments, as they are delivered.
Finally, your audience are already beginning to follow your instructions, and view you as a leader. They are following your instructions; “raise your hand”. Again, this makes them more likely to follow your instructions (and arguments!) as your persuasive speech continues.
AND as a bonus point for you as a speaker, your confidence is likely to be boosted if you witness a room full of people raising their hands upon your instruction and agreeing with you. What a fantastic confidence feedback loop you will have created!
When to use a ‘Yes’ question to successfully persuade an audience?
‘Yes’ questions can be used throughout your speeches and presentations to increase your chances of successfully persuading your audience. They are most effective when used at the beginning of a speech, as the earlier you open your audience’s mind to saying ‘Yes’, the more time and opportunity that you have to then share your messages with them afterwards.
How can I find out more about how to successfully persuade my audience?
I regularly run training courses on speaking to persuade and influence, using the very best techniques from psychology and some of the greatest speakers in history. These skills are useful for all speakers. If you would like to discuss the creation of a bespoke persuasive speaking training session for you or your team, then please contact Rich Public Speaking here. Alternatively, you can view an example of a course that covers lots of persuasive speaking techniques in our presentation skills for sales teams course here.
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