Show your listeners that you value them

In order for your views to have value when it is your turn to speak, you need to show your listener(s) that you value them so they will appreciate you. 1.Remember and use names: make a point of storing up the name of someone you meet for the first time and use the name in your conversation with them. 2.Listen more than you speak: allow space for the other person(s) to express their views and opinions without interruption from you. 3.Keep your promises: always fulfil any pledges you make to follow-up, deliver information or take action....

Speaking skills alone are not enough

“Nature gave us one tongue and two ears so we could hear twice as much as we speak. “ Epictetus In his book, “Emotional Intelligence” (1995), author Daniel Goleman talks about the skill of non-defensive listening and speaking. He says, “The most powerful form of non-defensive listening, of course, is empathy: actually hearing the feelings behind what is being said.” If you are running your own agenda all of the time, how can you really hear what is being said? You will find it not just difficult but practically impossible to become truly influential unless you understand the people you would like influence. You cannot do this if you are talking all the time. Here are our Top Ten tips to develop your listening skills. Listen a lot: you will rarely if ever be accused of “listening too much”. People are drawn to those who really hear what they are saying. Listen in order to understand: it’s no good just applying a technique. A good listener actually wants to see the world through the other person’s eyes. Listen with empathy: listen with your heart and not just your mind. An empathetic listener aims to fully understand the other person emotionally as well as intellectually. Listen and learn: effective listening brings knowledge. Knowledge not only helps you to understand the other person, it is also essential in establishing common ground. Listen and concentrate: we think faster than we (or anyone else) can speak. You need to focus on the other person and what they are saying and not your own thoughts. Listen and suspend judgement: this does not mean that...

Learning from the Greek philosophers

“Persuasion is the art of getting people to do something they wouldn’t ordinarily do if you didn’t ask.” Aristotle From ancient Greece to the late 19th Century, building rhetorical skills was a central part of Western education, filling the need to train public speakers and writers to move audiences to action with arguments. Aristotle wrote about persuasion as a process of moving people from A (their starting point) to B (the speaker’s objective). He identifies three different types of rhetorical proof: Ethos: how the character and credibility of a speaker can influence an audience. Logos: the use of words and reasoning to construct a persuasive argument. Pathos: the use of emotional appeals to influence the audience’s thinking. Persuasive power for presentations and public speaking Workplace communication challenges today, such as presentations or the occasional speech, are often aimed at achieving a change in thinking or convincing key-decision makers to adopt your plans and proposals. What can we learn from the teachings of the ancient Greeks  and how can it be applied? Ethos: credibility has to be invested in you by an audience who believes in you. You can help them to trust you by staking out your claim to being uniquely qualified to speak about the topic and by demonstrating that you have command of accurate and reliable facts. If your credibility is in doubt then the impact will always be negative. Logos: a clear and transparent structure is important to appeal to the objectivity of your audience. Use an agenda, build in solid information, real examples and draw strong, logical conclusions from the premises you set out. If...

The positive side of persuasion

Persuade: (1) cause to believe: convince (2) a. induce b. lure, attract, entice etc. Definition from the Oxford English Dictionary A word can have several shades of meanings and many implications – and not all of the Oxford English Dictionary’s definitions (above) of the verb “to persuade” imply a positive intention on the part of the person doing the persuading. If I try to induce you into a course of action, lure you into following my suggestions or entice you into doing something against your better judgement then I would not blame you for thinking that I do not have your best interests at heart. What makes persuasion a negative term for some is not the act of persuasion itself but rather the people out there who use its principles unethically and without integrity. Whilst there are no doubt some who would use force or unscrupulous means in order to persuade, it is up to each of us to ensure that we communicate responsibly and ethically. Positive persuasion: the guiding principle is win-win This is the positive side of persuasion that you will find in our Training Box. Persuasion refers to any attempt to influence the actions or judgements of others by talking to them or by writing things down. Virtually all of our important communication is persuasive to some extent as we try to move people on a daily basis to accept our point of view, our requests and our proposals. Successful persuasion benefits the communicator as it involves putting yourself and your thoughts across convincingly to the person(s) you aim to influence in order to achieve certain...