Three Key Steps to Influence Others

From social media, to texting, to constantly checking our smart phones, communication is getting more complex every day.  If we want to influence our audiences, we have to not only hook them, but keep them engaged- something very difficult to do in 2017. Here are some quick pointers, such as the rule of three, non verbal signs, and subtle tweaks that have major impact.

1. Fake it ’til you make it – speak up for confidence

If you want to be heard, you need to speak up.  It will be difficult to influence others to take action when they can’t hear you.  In all of my years working with thousands of individuals, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to ask someone to turn down their volume level.  Most individuals I work with believe they speak louder than they really do until they hear their voice on a video playback.

On a scale of one to ten, with one being inaudible and ten too loud, your voice needs to be at a seven or eight when speaking to a group of 15 or more. When speaking over the phone or to a small group, project at a four to five level.  

Vocal projection has nothing to do with yelling.  It’s the realization you need to use different volume levels so your voice reaches everyone in the room.  No one should have to strain to hear you.  If they do, they’ll stop listening and you will lose them.

Ask for feedback on the volume level you project in meetings, face-to-face situations and over the phone.  This week audiotape yourself during a presentation, meeting, or virtual or face-to-face conversation.  Give yourself immediate feedback:

• Would you be influenced by this person?

• Do you sound like you really mean what you’re saying, or do you invite your listeners to check their email?

• Does your voice trail off at the end of your sentences?


2. Get to the Point

Time is valuable to all of us, so why do we steal our listener’s time by taking too long to get to the point? The more you say that’s unnecessary, the greater the risk your listeners will miss or misinterpret your point.  Instead of inviting your listeners to check out:

• Stay focused.  When you find yourself going down the path of saying too much and you begin to feel like a train about to derail, put the brakes on and get yourself back on track … PAUSE!

• Keep your objective in mind.  Think in terms of what your listener needs to know about what you want them to do, not what you want to tell them.

• Put thought to your words before you speak.

• Use the Rule of Three.  Focus your message on no more than the three most significant points.  It’s easier for you to get to the point and for your listeners to remember your message and act on what you have to say.

• Pay attention to your listener.  Are they hanging on your every word or are they dazed?  Are they attentive or fidgeting?

This week, prior to your meetings ask a trusted peer to give you a non-verbal signal when you’re rambling and taking too long to get to the point.

When you listen to your audio playback, don’t only listen to your volume level but also pay attention to the length of your sentences.

• Is your message articulate, succinct and easy to¬ follow?

• Do your points meet your listener expectations?

• Does your message stay on point or are you communicating too many ideas in a short period of time?


3. Give your conversation momentum

Close by recapping the specific action you want your listener to take and what’s in it for them.  When your listener is clear on what you’re asking them to do, you’ll continue to move the relationship forward. Because we remember the first and last thing we hear, it’s critical that your message is organized.

Your listener receives many messages throughout their day.  Stating a specific action that has benefits for your listener is what will help you be heard above the noise. 


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