Five Tips for Getting What You Want

Follow up from the Full-Day Conference, March 13, 2013

Securing budget approval. Landing that much deserved promotion. Coaching employees to greatness. We all want something when we communicate with another person, but as you know, they don’t always do what we want. As discussed in our session, “Communicating for Organizational Change, Stakeholder Commitment and Leadership Endorsement,” at the full day Communication Conference, sometimes it isn’t about what we say, but how we say it. As discussed in our book, The Pin Drop Principle, here are some effective approaches to gain commitment as a result of your communication:

  1. Define your objective (and choose an intention). Always have an objective (goal) with your communication—something you want from your audience. Pair that objective with an intention, a one-word verb, e.g. excite, persuade or engage, to shape how you deliver your message. Your voice, gestures and body language must support and reflect that intention. Complete the following sentence with any message you deliver: “I want to __________ my audience, so my audience will  __________.” (For a computer salesman, that might be: “I want to excite my audience, so my audience will purchase this computer.”)
  2. Create a hook from the start. As Lyndon Johnson once said, ‘‘If they’re with you at the takeoff, they’ll be with you in the landing.’’ Capture your audience’s attention in the first 30 seconds with a provocative statement, a thought-provoking question or a relevant anecdote that sets up the topic or material you are planning to discuss.
  3. Pause for effect. We think at a much faster rate than we should optimally speak so it is important to consciously slow down when speaking with an audience—something that is not always easy to do when the adrenaline starts to flow. Slow down for their benefit so your words have a greater impact. Also, don’t be afraid to pause at specific points to let your information sink in with your audience.
  4. Bring the passion. People are drawn to others who are passionate and excited, so make sure your body language and voice communicate passion about your message or proposal. Enthusiasm is contagious. So is apathy. Be sincere, be engaged, and be present in your presentation.
  5. Ask for commitment. As the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky once said, ‘You miss every shot you don’t take.’ As with anyone who is attempting to persuade or influence an audience, at a certain point, you need to be prepared to ask for commitment. Be assertive in your ‘‘ask.” This is not the time to hesitate, waver, or retreat from your intention.

By using these five tips, you can be a more engaging, persuasive and influential communicator and subsequently more likely to get what you what from your audience. So go get that budget approved, land that much deserved promotion and guide those employees to greatness.

David Lewis is the co-founder and CEO of Pinnacle Performance Company, a global training firm that teaches business professionals how to deliver their messages to influence their audience. Lewis co-invented The Pinnacle Method, which applies time tested acting techniques to today’s business communication, and co-authored the acclaimed book, The Pin Drop Principle.

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