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Persuasive Public Speaking


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Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt,
so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. - Collosians 4:6

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Shop 1 - Standard, run-of-the-mill salesman...

Me: Hi, I'm looking for a security camera system for my house.
Rep: Ok, you should consider the Digitech R9-380H.
Me: Why's that?
Rep: It's got built-in wireless remote access so you can monitor through an off-site DT-link.
Me: Okay.
Rep: And it's motorized pan and tilt base gives you more control.  It also includes custom motion-sensor alerts!
Me: Uummm... thanks, I'll look around a bit more.

Shop 2 - Smart customer-centred salesman who'll be promoted in 2 weeks...

Me: Hi, I'm looking for a security camera system for my house.
Rep: Ok, a company called Digitech has a model that I highly recommend.
Me: Why's that?
Rep:  Well, it's completely wireless.  That means you can see what's going on in your house from any computer anywhere that has Internet.
Me: Wow that sounds amazing!
Rep: You can also control the camera's movements straight from your work or home computer.  It's also got a feature that'll send you an e-mail when it detects a strange movement in your house.
Me: Unbelievable, can I have a look?

Note the difference?  Both were selling the same cool gadget, but while the first guy was droning on in difficult technical language, the second sales-rep focused on the benefits that the customer (me, I want one of those by the way!) will get from the purchase.

The "What's in it for me?" question is therefore detrimental for any kind of persuasive public speaking, and for writing and delivering speeches that'll engage your audience in a meaningful fashion. 

If you can train yourself to write audience centred-speeches, and deliver them in a way that will highlight and emphasize the benefits to the audience, you'll stand out among the rest on the public speaking circuit.

On the contrary, if your content cannot answer that question in a meaningful way, you're losing out (or boring) a lot of potentially interested audience members and customers.
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The most persuasive public speaking will be audience-centred.  The truth is simply that people are rarely as interested in your gadget, widget or your amazing groundbreaking ideas, as much as they're interested in how it will improve their lives. 
Persuasive Public Speaking
A very important question therefore, that you should know the audience is always asking you, is this: "What's in it for me?"  This question needs to be answered in your speech and is done by making your content relevant to the crowd and highlighting how it will influence (and hopefully better) their lives.

Businesspeople are often infamous for using difficult-to-understand language that gets everyone inside the company excited and passionate, but leaves the rest of the world dazed in confusion. 
Imagine a well-meaning CEO from the stage:  "Our new Gizmo will help you half, that's right HALF, your time spent with compatible transitional contingencies!"

Huh?  While everyone from the IT guys to the Human Relations department might applaud this news, one very important person is left clueless:  The customer!  And persuasive public speaking will put the customer's (in our case the audience's) needs first by always highlighting how, whatever we're talking about, relates to and impacts them.

Persuasive Public Speaking:  What's in it for me?

Let's sketch two scenarios to illustrate the customer-centred vs. gadget-centred approach to promotion.  Let's say I'm looking to get hold of a CCTV-type camera system for my house, to monitor everything in my living room, for when I'm at work.
Highlight the benefits to them, and you'll keep them excited and engaged. 
It's as simple as that!