How to Have Your Voice Heard
One of my goals is to learn how to be more persuasive. This stems from John Maxwell’s book Thinking for a Change, and specifically a little blurb on page 52 where he talks about how he wants to be so influential and be filled with so many good things, that whenever he opens his mouth good stuff flows out. Being filled with so many good things is a great goal, but in order to get people to stop to listen you have to be persuasive.
Recently, while going through some sales training, we talked about the 10 P’s of making a sale. These are attributes that you have to have, and attributes that you have to think about, in order to be a good salesman or woman. While going through them I couldn’t help but to think that these are actually the 10 P’s of persuasion.
As your read through them, you will probably think of more attributes (and many that also start with the letter “P”). Add those to your list, and grab the power of persuasion.
The 10 “P’s” of Persuasion
Positive – During your daily interactions, do you interact with more people that are negative, or people that are positive? Chances are you like to associate with the positive people more than you do the negative people. Nobody wants to be brought down! As you seek to grow your influence and become more persuasive, focus on how you’re presenting material. Are you complaining a lot, or are you offering solutions? Same subject matter, different approach. The latter will be much more successful in getting your voice heard.
Power – Your energy is projected. Suppose someone approaches you wringing their hands and looking at the floor. Their request is probably going to go unheeded, and whatever they have to say will be lost in a mumble. Now power can be overdone, we all know those pushy sales people that we hate doing business with because they overpower the conversation. Creating a fine balance of power and openness is imperative for being persuasive.
Passion – Passion is the internal motivation for what you do. It’s the driving force behind you. While you can “fake it ’til you make it” with a lot of other aspects, you can’t fake passion. It’s portrayed and felt by others when it is there, and when it’s not there its absence can be felt. If you’re lacking passion, and you want to be persuasive, you will likely need to change your topic so that you can be passionate about what you’re talking about.
Presence – Presence isn’t just physical. It’s also intellectual and emotional. Physical presence isn’t as important; persuasion can come through the written word. Intellectual presence comes when you know your subject matter, you’ve given time to it, you think about it regularly. Emotional presence comes with the passion. The more passionate you are, the more emotionally present you will be with the subject.
Practice – If you were passionate about a sport and you had a goal to be the best there ever was, but you didn’t practice regularly, you would never get there. Persuasion comes with practice. It comes with talking to other people about your passion and learning to persuade them. Without the practice you won’t know what falls short, and you won’t know what makes a big impact. Practice regularly and, more importantly, learn from what you practice.
People – You can’t get better doing the same thing over and over. In order to get better, you have to associate with people better than yourself. Seek out those that have come before you, learn from them, and when it’s appropriate, ask them for advice on the struggles you are currently facing. You are the average of the people with whom you associate; are you dragging yourself down by hanging around the wrong people?
Perseverance – Perseverance is defined as doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. When your goal is to have influence and be persuasive, you can’t give up when nobody listens. When your blog posts fall flat, and your book only sells a few dozen copies, perseverance will see you through. It will come if you’re doing it right.
Professional – You will be far more persuasive if you’re professional than if you’re not. Think about a motivational speaker. Would you follow the teaching of someone in a stained t-shirt, unkempt hair, and cusses up a storm over someone in a suit and tie, well groomed, and well spoken? While looks shouldn’t matter, they certainly do.
Pride – There are different forms of pride. Having pride in your work is different than being proud (synonymous with arrogance). Be proud of what you do; take pride in making a difference. If you’re not proud of yourself, why would you expect others to be proud of you? Don’t cross the line into arrogance, but maintain a high level of pride.
Persistent – Calvin Coolidge once said that “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” Keep going, push through.
Proactive – There are two ways you can take on life: proactively and reactively. When you react, you’re always trying to catch up and you have no control. When you’re proactive, you’re grabbing the bull by the horns, and you’re steering your life where you want to go. Don’t react, cause the action.
Journey to a Persuasive Personality
As I journey toward being more persuasive I realize that I tend to ignore many of the “P’s”. I then wonder why my voice falls flat and I don’t achieve the persuasion that I desire. All of the aspects of persuasion must be addressed every time until they become a habit.
Before any speaking engagement, remember the 10 P’s of Persuasion. Practice them and make them work for you.