Taking Your Stage Blog  
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2 items categorized "Persuasion"


4 Actor Techniques to Be More Persuasive in Your Delivery

IStock_000015522057_webLearning the communication skills of persuasion and influence helps you become a better leader and more proficient at your job (read: more valuable).  It is one of those skills that makes a big difference when used as a tool (and not a "weapon").

While most of us want to become more persuasive, most of us have work to do on our delivery.  In fact, how we deliver our messages is what is restricting our effectiveness.  Whether you are influencing a peer, a team, or an entire organization, these four actor techniques will help when the "curtain goes up" and all eyes are on you:

1.  Persuade with your eyes

Most of the time we focus on our words when attempting to be persuasive.  It was once said that our eyes are the window to our soul.  Focus your attention to your eyes.  Think about the most dramatic movie scenes you have seen.  Watch them again and pay attention how the actor(s) convey the true drama with their eyes.  When you are giving a persuasive message, focus on your eyes by making solid eye contact, and intentionally conveying emotion and passion.  You may try "rehearsing" in front of a mirror by reciting your "message" internally while focusing on generating emotion coming from your eyes.

2.  Invent your Enthusiasm

Let's face it - sometimes we really, really need to be persuasive, but we just can't get enthusiastic from the context, content, or purpose.  That lack of enthusiasm and energy shows.  So...invent your own enthusiasm, by creating an "as if" scenario.  If your passion is to teach people, act "as if" you are teaching people and let your enthusiasm come out.  If your passion is software coding, act "as if" you are creating or discussing a great piece of software code.  Find an "as if" scenario that you can connect with that creates enthusiasm for you.  It works.

3.  Smile like a Capuchan Monkey

I don't know if capuchan monkeys actually smile, but it invokes an image for me to smile like I never would otherwise.  Like our eyes, smiling has an incredible effect.  Your recipient will respond both physically and emotionally.  Even on the phone, the person at the other end will be able to "hear" the smile in your voice.  You may feel sillier than a capuchan monkey but it won't come across that way.

4.  Make it about your Audience

An actor wants to connect with and move their audience.  The focus is on the audience, and when we are trying to be persuasive, it is no different.  What's in it for them?  Do you care more about being persuasive or about what's best for the other person?  Is your motivation to look good and get what you want?  Or to make them look good and help them get what they want?  Do you want to win?  Or build a long-term working relationship?  People can feel your authenticity and sincerity, and whether you are more concerned about them or yourself.  Make it about them.  Change your thought process by asking "what's in it for them?" or "what if I were in their shoes?"

While you may not literally be performing on a stage, each of us are performing on your own "stage" every day.  Focus on one of these techniques and watch for the subtle differences they have in your audience.




Five Questions to Answer Before Asking for Something

IStock_000005289430_webYou want something.  It will help your team, your project, your day-to-day life.  But you'll never get it unless you convince someone else to see things your way.  Not easy to do, but worth the effort.  You pick up the phone, but then you think that in person may work better.  That way you can read their body language.  You walk into their office and make your request.  They ask a couple of questions with a tone that you were not expecting and all of a sudden the conversation is moving in a direction for which you are not prepared.  The result is not what you hoped, but you have no idea what you could have done differently.

An actor walking into an audition experiences something similar.  They never know quite what to expect and sometimes have very little time before they are asked to read a script or play a scene.  Yet there is a lot at stake.  Here are five questions they may ask themselves that you can use before launching into your own "scene" in order to see the big picture and where you are in the "script":

  1. What do you want? What exactly do you want?  What is your objective?  Be very specific without generalities.
  2. Where is the conflict?  Everyday situations and conversations are filled with conflict and you need to understand where the conflict is before you enter the "scene."  What do you want?  What do they want?  Where will there be conflict?  If you don't know, make it a point to ask questions to find out.
  3. What has just happened?  What were they doing, thinking, even feeling before you walked in?
  4. Where are you?  Is it in their office?  Your office?  Are there other people around?  Will they feel threatened or comfortable?
  5. What is the relationship?  Is there a history?  How do they feel about you?  Do they like you?  Respect you?  Do they know you?  Have you made an effort to sincerely build a relationship with them?

Simple questions such as these "set the stage," help you go in with the right attitude, and move the focus from yourself to the other person.  And that goes a long way towards achieving your objective while perserving the relationship.