Stephanie Hughes led an interactive session on “Making an impact, influence and persuasion” for an early evening event for Professional Marketing Forum http://www.pmforum.co.uk/ in London recently. Stepanie has been a concert pianist and a radio and television presenter. She is an experienced consultant and coach.
Bring energy into the room
Starting with an interesting exercise in the power of non-verbal communication (see http://kimtasso.com/faq/how-can-non-verbal-communication-body-language-improve-my-marketing-and-personal-effectiveness/) she asked delegates to role play introducing themselves to someone they disliked at a school reunion, to friends at a wedding they hadn’t seen for ages and then at a business function.
With the comment “sitting is the new smoking” she explained that most of our time in the workplace is spent seated and that by standing and moving more energy can be injected into conversations. She referred to the HBR paper on charisma in leadership (https://hbr.org/2012/06/learning-charisma-2) supporting the importance of energy and engagement.
There were video clips to demonstrate what happens when presenters experience “flight, fight or freeze” response and adopt closed non-verbal communication compared to leaders who present passionately.
Focus of attention
She talked about when we are feeling nervous and whether we focus on the task or the internal conversation. She suggested that we focus attention and “leave everything else behind”. There was an interesting discussion about “chronic resting bitch face” and how to change perceptions. There was another role play showing the impact on a speaker when the audience is welcoming and positive compared to neutral and bored.
When preparing to present, she suggested the following structure and to anticipate and address objections:
- Business as usual
- Things are starting to change
- What are the options?
- Resolution of concerns and decisions
She shared some images that demonstrate how we perceive things differently – the same data but interpreted differently by people.
She offered a useful tool to use empathy (see http://kimtasso.com/take-a-walk-on-the-client-side-empathy-and-emotional-intelligence-when-selling-professional-services/) to prepare for a presentation:
|Before the meeting||After the meeting (Ideal outcome)|
She advised structuring your content and delivery around achieving the ideal outcome. She argued that you should convey the emotion that you want them to feel. These were useful insights for those preparing to pitch or present in tendering situations.
Adapt to personality type
Her model of personality was a modification of some of the more commonly known categorisations and included:
- Analysers (need evidence)
- Warm cup of coffee (need rapport and small talk)
- Emperors (dislike challenge)
- Bulldozers (Hate delays)
She made reference to the Parent-Adult-Child (PAC) model (see http://kimtasso.com/psychology-business-communication-introduction-transactional-analysis-ta/) and offered an interesting variation of the drama triangle to suggest that a presentation involved balancing predator, partner and prey.
Use of data
There was an exercise where we shared the story of our first or last name and showed that most added colourful detail and memorable elements. Her point here concerned making language come alive – moving from an even keel to containing ups and downs. Emotions were evoked when we created and used images.
She shared her FOAM technique for increasing interest:
- Facts and statistics (showing the relative size)
- Anecdotal evidence
- Metaphors and analogies (see http://kimtasso.com/selling-legal-services-storytelling/).
She explored how different structures enabled persuasive arguments to be conveyed. A role play to sell a slinky involved the use of different structures and methods. She offered a “Heaven and hell” approach – “If we do this, then…” and “If we don’t do this then…”
Using questions and words
She continued to talk about persuasion techniques through the use of questions/
- How would you? Signpost steps and use verbs
- What are? The importance of nouns
- Why? Provide arguments, evidence and a conclusion
The most interesting idea from my perspective was the advice to avoid nominalisation – which are concepts. So she urged the use of educate to education, present to presentation and market to marketing. She advised against the use of words ending in “tion”, “ment”. “ility” and “ing”.
Related blogs on impact:
Related blogs on influence and persuasion: