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demonstrate your credibility

Get the Audience’s Attention

Establish Credibility

To persuade an audience, you must and authority. People are more receptive to someone they view as an authority figure, whether that person has direct authority over them, such as a boss, or if the person is an authority in his industry or profession. You should attempt to persuade others of something you can prove or have first-hand knowledge of or experience in. Back up your claims with statistics or examples.

Before you can persuade an audience, you must first grab their attention and demonstrate why it’s worth their time to listen to your idea or suggestion. Start with an anecdote that illustrates the point you’re trying to make or with a surprising fact that tells them why what you have to say is important. For example, if you’re trying to persuade company management to adopt a no-smoking policy, begin with a statistic regarding how many sick days smokers take compared to non-smokers.

Tailor the Message to the Medium

What persuades in writing doesn’t necessarily persuade when delivered verbally. For example, you can include numbers and statistics in a written document because readers can take their time interpreting the data. But if you bombard listeners with these same figures during a speech, you may confuse them and lose their attention. Face-to-face interaction often is more effective at persuading others because you can create a personal connection with your audience and use eye contact, gestures and other nonverbal signals to maintain their attention.

Convey Benefits

It’s easier to persuade an audience when you can show them how your proposal benefits them. If you’re asking your staff to work overtime during a busy season, describe how the extra money generated will fund additional employee perks or physical improvements to the workplace. If you’re trying to convince your supervisor to let you work from home part time, mention studies illustrating that employees are more productive when allowed to telecommute. If you’re pitching an idea to a client, explain how using your idea will improve the company’s image and attract more customers.