Communicating for Results: 5 Tips for Persuasive Speaking

Communicating for Results: 5 Tips for Persuasive Speaking


As business owners, persuading others is a necessity. Whether it’s talking to potential clients, getting existing clients to follow advice, or cultivating relationships with vendors, contractors or other entrepreneurs, we attempt to get others to take action. However, we don’t always get the results we want.

I’ve seen one-too-many colleagues squander away prime speaking opportunities because they haven’t thought through how to connect to their audience and, therefore, fail to persuade.

To remedy this, allow me to introduce a model for persuasive communication and delivery: TEMPTaction. These five tips will allow you to develop your persuasive abilities and communicate in a manner that gets results.


Human touch is powerful. If you’re speaking from a stage or during a media interview, you want to think of how you can metaphorically touch your audience.

I used to work with athletes as a media coach, showing them ways to authentically connect. One client—now a household name—asked me, “Jill, what do you mean by letting people into my story?”

I said, “You need to hug people with your words.”

Hugging with words means that your audience feels touched by, or a part of, the story you share. In this athlete’s case, it was sharing a childhood story that most people could identify with and, in doing so, this celebrity seemed more human and relatable.

In business, using examples, analogies, and stories that your audience can relate to will bring them one step closer to acting on your request. People support what they help create. Allowing others to share in, and experience part of, your business is a way to solidify buy-in. And when someone is an active contributor to a process, they are more likely to follow-through.

Eye Contact

In the United States, eye contact is a primary conveyor of connection and honesty. If you’re not able to make natural eye contact with an audience during a presentation, your integrity is likely to be questioned. Does this mean that you can’t use notes? No. But it does mean that you need to be aware of the amount of time you aren’t engaging visually with your audience. If you’re using technology to supplement your presentation, make sure it’s doing just that—supplementing and not supplanting, and ensure that your eye contact and posture are towards your audience, and not the projection screen.


Don’t be a stick in the mud. In a presentation, this means don’t stand in one place or avoid movement. If you’re forced to speak behind a podium, lean forward and make sure your gestures are above the waist. Natural movements—gestures with your body, hands/arms, and facial expressions—add fluidity and emotion to a presentation. You don’t need to be constantly moving. Try shifting your position with each main point or at key transition moments. Your gestures can be used purposefully to enhance a statement, and to add emphasis to your desire for audience interaction.


Paralanguage is everything other than words in your speech. Rate, tone and pitch are the three main considerations when delivering a persuasive message. Effective paralanguage is like a roller coaster—ups and downs, twists and turns, but leaving your passengers uplifted and excited at the end of the ride. If you’re not conveying energy, dynamism and enthusiasm in your message, why on earth would somebody act on your advice? You must believe in your message with your mind and body in order to be optimally persuasive.


Practice makes perfect. While I’ll argue that there’s no such thing as perfection, the cliché holds true. If you want to be effective at persuasive speaking, pitching, and communicating, you need to train yourself so that your communication and messaging—both verbal and nonverbal—are maximally effective.

Combine these five steps that you’ll be able to more successfully TEMPT people to act in your favor. But, please, use your new-found powers for good, and not evil.

Note: For videos on these five aspects of persuasive delivery and many other presentation and communication skills topics, visit

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