Last weekend, I picked up a book from my bookshelf. The book is called "Succeed and Grow Rich Through Persuasion" by Napoleon Hill and E. Harold Keown. (ISBN 0-451-16384-2)
Covered with dust, this book has been on my bookshelf for more than ten years.
I bought this book because I thought it was about salesmanship. But I've found out that it was a book about how to make the most out of our precious gift from the creator - our mind.
Written in 1970, the book is still worth reading now. I checked it on Amazon.com but found out that they are no longer stocking this book. However, you can still purchase this book from used book resellers (as low as US$1.45).
Having browsed through the book, it prompts me to write an article on how to increase your power of persuasion. It is a subject that has been addressed by many good writers and trainers. It is indeed not an easy subject.
Though it is not a simple subject, I want to point out only three habits that I want you to pick up - just three habits. The reason I want to stick to three is that, the more instruction I give, the more difficult you'll find it to follow. You'll be confused. And believe me, if you can pick up these three habits in your life, you are going to become a competent speaker. I use these three habits every day and hope you can use them too.
THE FIRST HABIT
Understand and believe in what you are saying.
How well you can present a topic depends on how well you understand it. More importantly, you should believe in what you're trying to convey. If you cannot convince yourself, don't expect others to be convinced.
Study shows that non-linguistic communication (other non-verbal means of communication, e.g. body languages) makes up more than 50% of the actual messages you convey to the audience. If you don't believe in what you are saying, your body will tell the truth. This will greatly reduce your communicative power, and the worst of all, totally ruin your credibility.
THE SECOND HABIT:
Don't easily believe in what others are saying.
This relates to your attitude to learning. And it in turn relates to how you define knowledge.
Plato defined knowledge as "justified true belief".
A belief can be considered as knowledge only if it has been justified.
This is sometimes referred to as the theory of justification.
In simpler words, what you acquired and learned can only be turned into knowledge after you have intensively analysed and justified it.
Therefore, you should go through a process of intense internal justification before you can truly turn something you received into knowledge. You need to totally digest, understand and accept the reasoning behind the new things you acquired.
If you can make a habit of it, you can greatly increase your presentation power, because what you are trying to present actually comes from your inner heart and is essentially part of your soul.
THE THIRD HABIT:
Speak with not only your mouth, but your eyes and your body.
When I interview people, I always look at their eyes. This tells me a lot about the interviewees. Are they sincere? Are they confident? Are they telling lies? I can tell from this with 90% accuracy.
So beware of you body when you speak. Use your hands and body to support your speech. Use your eyes. Look straight into the eyes of your audience when you are emphasising some important points.
Listen CAREULLY. This is very powerful. Confident person speaks with his/her eyes, not the mouth.
Caution: You should pick up these habits if you want presentation to be powerful. You should use ALL three habits before you'll notice the dramatic improvement they can bring to your presentation. Lastly, you can tell the magic of these habits only if you truly believe that they can transform you from head to toe.
From the Desk of
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