A quick search online will show you that there are many ways to make your speeches more persuasive, but some persuasion techniques work better than others — especially when speaking online.
So let’s narrow things down a bit.
Listed below are 5 powerful ways to inspire and persuade an audience as a virtual speaker so you can make your speeches more effective.
But first, what are persuasion techniques, and why are they so important?
Persuasion techniques are the methods you use to influence people and get them on your side.
They help you build your reputation, boost credibility, and earn income.
With the right persuasion techniques, your message will have the impact you desire, whether you’re speaking to in-person or virtual audiences.
Here are my 5 powerful tips for more persuasive speeches:
1. Share Actionable Advice
This is the first law of becoming a powerful public speaker: Always share actionable advice with your audience.
Whether you are speaking on a YouTube video, as a keynote, or at your own event, keep in mind that, unless you’ve previously built a relationship with them, attendees don't normally care about you so much as they care about the information you can give them and the problems you can help them solve.
So for you to become more persuasive as a virtual speaker, you need to focus on sharing lessons and strategies that your audience can immediately act upon.
By the end of your speech, every person in your audience should be eager to go and get started implementing what you just taught them.
Rather than sharing philosophical, esoteric, or convoluted stories and lessons, share step-by-step strategies and tactical processes to help your audience solve their problems, overcome obstacles, and achieve their goals.
Darshan Somashekar, a serial entrepreneur and founder of gaming platform Spider-Solitaire-Challange, explains, “Whenever I give presentations, I focus on providing real-word experiences to demonstrate my points. This gives my audience examples they can learn from. For instance, I’ll often share the step-by-step process of how we launched our Spider Solitaire site, when talking about how to start a new business.”
This is also one of the most important content strategies if you’re speaking virtually on your social media account or on a live video. If you share actionable advice in your live videos, it’ll drive up audience engagement and get you more views too.
As a speaker, even if you mess up your lines, body language, or anything else in your presentation, if you can share something that transforms someone's life, then your speech will still be considered a success.
Pro Tip: If you really want to make the most of your speaking engagements, consider setting up a landing page for your audience to visit after your speech and download something helpful in exchange for their email address.
2. Use an Overarching Theme to Unify Your Speech
When speaking virtually, you should never try to share too much information too quickly.
You likely have a ton of ideas and immense value to offer your audience. But, unless you unify your speech with one overarching theme, you will probably end up damaging your presentation by going off on a tangent or including disparate, unrelated tidbits.
What you want is a speech that will be well received, make you look good, and add to your reputation and bottom line.
One effective way to identify your theme is to create an "elevator pitch" of your presentation, i.e., summarize your speech in just 12 words or less.
Think about the one major takeaway you want for your audience.
What is the one thing that would make the biggest change in their lives and have them take action immediately and start generating results based on the information you shared?
For instance, advocating the idea of environmental scanning and tying the theme of your speech to that is a great example of something that would be beneficial and actionable.
If you are able to unify your speech beneath a single overarching theme in this way, you will create simplicity and coherence in your presentation, avoiding unrelated excursions and tangential rambles.
3. Speak to Your Target Audience
Yet another way to become more persuasive as a virtual speaker is to tailor your conversations to the audience in front of you. This can be easy if you already host a podcast and know who your audience is, but if you don’t have that close relationship it may get a little more difficult.
The style and topic of your speech should be aligned with the people you’re communicating with.
In every aspect of life, you have to consider the person you are speaking to so you can communicate in a way that gets your message across in the most effective way. For instance, you wouldn't talk to your three-year-old daughter the same way you talk to your teenage son.
In the same way, you tailor your conversations accordingly, depending on whether you're talking to your grandmother, business partner, coaching clients, employees, or friends.
To become a more effective virtual speaker, you need to do the same with different audiences. You must become very familiar with the types of individuals you will be addressing and the outcomes they seek.
Ask yourself the following questions:
What type of language resonates with them?
Are they looking to be educated or inspired?
Are they likely to be reserved or outspoken?
What are their political inclinations?
What is their level of expertise in the topic?
Whatever information on your virtual audience you can collect will help you tailor your presentation appropriately.
It will make your speech more powerful, because you will be speaking directly to your audience in a way they find engaging.
4. Leverage the Power of Storytelling
Using stories in your presentations will help to get your message across in a much more enjoyable way. It will help you become a more persuasive — and memorable — virtual speaker.
As humans, we love stories because they let us share information in ways that build emotional connections — particularly when we can relate to the tale.
Stories boost our feelings of trust, empathy, and compassion, which is why so many of the great influencers and teachers in human history chose to teach through parables and stories.
Few people will forget a good story, so if you attach your message to a good story it is likely to stick. That's why it's such a great idea to use stories when you need to drive home important points.
You can share stories from your own life or the lives of your clients. However, be careful not to make it too much about you.
The story must be relevant and tie into your overall goal of providing value to your audience. There must be a lesson for them to learn through the story.
Study some of the best storytellers in your sphere and watch Ted Talks to study storytelling — particularly structure and delivery.
With practice you will be able to use storytelling to improve the quality of your speeches.
5. Keep Your Energy High
Maintaining a high level of energy in your presentation will help you become a more persuasive virtual speaker.
This means that you need to keep your own energy high. For instance, you might do some exercises or drink coffee before the presentation — anything that will help you feel more energized. You’ll know best what works for you.
It also means that you must talk with passion. The more positive, inspiring, and excited you are about the content you are sharing, the more people will give you their attention.
When your audience sees that you have a real passion for your topic, that feeling can be contagious in a wonderful way.
During your speech, focus on emotion rather than information.
Remember the old saying:
People often forget what you said, but most will never forget the way you made them feel.
So use your high energy to elicit the appropriate emotions from your listeners, whether it's inspiring them, motivating them, calling them out on bad behavior, or challenging them to raise the bar.
Whether you are giving a keynote speech to educate and empower others, sharing your expertise in YouTube or Instagram, or selling your products to a live audience, speaking is among the quickest ways to build your authority, manufacture celebrity, garner trust, and drive high levels of revenue to your business.
Include the persuasion techniques outlined above in your speeches to help you better connect with your virtual audience and get them on your side.
About the author:
Ron Stefanski is an internet business expert and marketing professor who has a passion for helping people create and market online businesses. You can learn more from him by visiting OneHourProfessor.com