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Keep it short, snappy and seductive

Brevity, structure and concision are the three key facets when it comes to delivering a persuasive speech, according to Paul Carroll.

A short but clear presentation would help the audience understand the underlying message, the public speaking mentor at educational organisation Toastmasters International said.

Structurally, each point should lead logically to the next point. What is more, speeches should include facts, figures, and anecdotes about individual characters, Mr Carroll added.

Persuasive speeches are characterised by the ability to establish a particular issue and relating it to the audience.

“This puts the idea into their heads that something ought to be done. It also builds an emotional connection. Then you can tell them that you’ve got the solution,” Mr Carroll said.

“You must answer the question inside the heads of your audience; WIIFM – What’s In It For Me. The easiest way to persuade people to do what you want is to show them that it’s in their interest.

“Make sure it’s something you can believe yourself. If you don’t sound convinced yourself, you won’t be convincing. You should write the way you speak. Remember you’re preparing yourself to give a spoken presentation: sounding as if you’re reading a report is less convincing because it won’t quite sound like you.”

Thirdly, precision is key. Being vague about what is expected from the audience following the presentation is likely to lead to inaction, according to Mr Carroll.

He said: “By being clear about what you want them to do and then making it easy for them to commit – for example by presenting them with sign-up sheets rather than saying ‘see our website for volunteering opportunities’ – you’ll get more commitment.”

He added: “Finally, while it may seem counterintuitive to ask for a favour, it may actually help you build a better relationship. Someone who has done a favour for you now has an emotional investment in you, whether he’s conscious of it or not. So ask your audience a favour – it will serve to build the relationship now and in the future.”

Adviser view

Steven Rowe, director at West Midlands-based Lucent Financial Planning, said: “Some advisers get caught up in the technicalities, such as regulation, and speak for far too long, which is very off-putting to the client.

“Some people can talk for 20 minutes and you still would not have a clue about what exactly they are trying to tell you. Product providers are often guilty of this.

“I would say 50 per cent of our job as financial advisers is to simplify complex processes into soundbites that our clients can easily understand – cutting out all the rubbish and industry jargon. It is important to show that you have the ability to do this in the first instance.

“I would agree that there is a thin line between being persuasive and being pushy.”

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