Become a More Persuasive and Influential Leader
The human instinct is to follow an influential leader who has a clear vision and can articulate their goals with conviction. Passion and charisma can often be enough to catch people’s interest. But no matter how beautifully you explain your strategies or how compelling your idea sounds, it takes a little more to get people to commit to your plans fully. You have to make them believe that you can always address their every concern. You have to be persuasive for them to trust your vision.
To get people to follow you, you have to be prepared to defend your mission and lay all their doubts to rest. People respect a person who faith in their ideas. But how do you convince them of this? How do you persuade them to trust in you?
The key is to get them invested in your dreams. To grow your influence, you have to learn how to win audience participation. The more involved they are, the more persuasive you will be.
Address the Needs of Your Audience
Preparation is the core of any convincing pitch. You can’t persuade your employees that the changes you plan on implementing will improve their work environment if you can’t anticipate how their lives would be affected. And you can’t convince future clients that your ideas are bankable if you can’t illustrate why your services are the solution to their problems.
Your understanding of your audience is what makes you an effective leader and influencer. Your pitch should always be tailored to the requirements of your listeners. People can appreciate a compelling speech, but they only become invested when they hear something that addresses their needs directly. So, to truly connect with your audience, you have to know what they want and what you can do to give it to them.
Create an Environment of Participation
Once you win their involvement, your battle to persuading them is practically won. Next, you have to allow them to participate actively. Engaging directly with an idea increases personal interest in a project. So, when you’re addressing your audience, watch their faces, maintain eye contact. Show them with your words and body language that you wholeheartedly want their engagement. Their expressions will tell you how involved they’re already feeling, and how well they would respond to a call for participation.
When you ask your audience to collaborate with you, what you’re doing is offering personal investment in your project — casually known as, ‘skin in the game’. Direct engagement with any idea has an almost physical effect on people. They feel their senses heighten, their focus narrowing. With every question they ask and suggestion they make, your audience is taking another step closer to becoming convinced of the value of your plans.
Pay Attention to Feedback
When you get feedback from your audience, they must always sense that you are listening to everything they say. Disinterest or dismissal will undo everything you’ve worked for till then. Show them that you’re paying attention by interacting with them. Maintained relaxed eye contact, and nod at intervals to affirm your interest. Ask questions back, so they know that you heard everything that was said. Your sincerity in these interactions will always come through.
Persuasion is a skill that depends heavily on your ability to make connections with people. The most successful and influential leaders prioritise creating relationships over angling for favours or advantage. Your first goal is to present yourself as someone who listens and finds solutions. Persuasive leaders prize the respect of their audience and will never compromise it!