You just delivered a perfect presentation. You’d memorized your elevator pitch, shared all your content with your audience, and you didn’t miss a beat. You left the room ready to get to work with this new client only to later find out they’d decided to work with someone else. You thought you did everything right, so what happened?
In this case, you were probably speaking to your audience instead of influencing them. Speakers focus internally. They’re content driven and so caught up in their own experience of delivering the perfect pitch that they might lose their audience during the process. Influencers focus externally. They’re outcome driven and focus more on the listener’s experience where they can adapt to audience engagement and reactions. Most of us learned how to speak to an audience, but it takes practice to influence our listeners. Influence is the key to getting results, so we’ll walk you through three powerful strategies you can use to level up your influence skills.
1. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
While speakers gauge things from their perspective, influencers focus on the listener’s overall experience. Changing your perspective helps you become more in tune with your audience and can even help take away some of the stress in high-stakes situations. Before you can influence your audience, you should know:
- What is important to them or what do they want?
- What do they need to hear to say yes or agree with you?
- What questions are they likely to have?
- Are they engaged?
Approaching content from your listener’s perspective helps you better engage them because the content is relevant to them. Another added benefit of changing perspectives is that shifting the focus from you to your audience can boost your confidence. When you focus outward on listeners, it takes the focus off you and allows you to be more present during your pitch. The biggest thing to remember when it comes to influencing your audience is that it’s not about you. It’s about your listeners.
2. PRACTICE EXTREME FOCUS
In high-stakes situations, focus isn’t enough. To make every minute count, you’ll need extreme focus. Extreme focus is the best way to get your message across to listeners with limited time, shorter attention spans, and less patience if they feel like they have to search for your point during your pitch. To practice extreme focus, you’ll need to:
- Start with your purpose
How do you want your listeners to think, feel, and act when you’re done? Your purpose drives your content, so you’ll want to be specific about how you can help your listeners.
- Limit and prioritize your content
Sharing too much content during a small window of opportunity makes it more likely you’ll run out of time, your points will get lost, and you’ll overwhelm your listeners into inaction. See it from your listener’s perspective and share the content you know they want to hear to get the yes.
- Structure your points
You know your purpose and you’ve prioritized your content. Now, structure your content in a way that’s memorable to your audience. Think of structure as giving listeners hooks to hang your key points on. If you tell them, “Let’s look at 3 tools you can use to improve your focus,” they’ll know three things are coming and will listen for them.
The bottom line? You need a clear purpose, prioritized content, and structure to accomplish extreme focus and win that yes.
3. GET OFF THE ELEVATOR
You’ve changed your perspective and tailored your content to exactly what your listeners need to hear. Now, it’s time to get off the elevator and close the deal. Your elevator pitch is a powerful way to start, but your biggest ally in getting your listeners to say yes is to create an emotional connection.
Focused, logical content helps people rationalize and justify their decisions and actions, but making a positive, emotional connection drives people to action. When time is limited, there are four ways you can quickly make an emotional connection:
- Engage through story
- Demonstrate understanding
- Express emotion
- Share a laugh
Above all else, be genuine and authentic when you’re using any of the above ways to make an emotional connection. This isn’t about being someone you’re not, it’s about finding small ways to adapt these strategies and make them work for you.
When it comes to influencing people, you’ll see better results when you change your perspective, practice extreme focus, and get off the elevator to win your audience. These three strategies are universal but how you apply them in different situations can be nuanced. Since you’re reading this, it means you’re likely already a great speaker who wants to take their influence skills to the next level. By putting these strategies into practice at the right moments, you’ll start hearing “yes!” a lot more.
Are you looking to maximize your influence? We’d love to work with you. Contact us to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Heather Johnson and discuss the results you need to get and how we can help you get them.