Master Your Message Blog

Why You Absolutely Have to Believe in Your Message

This is right up there with the most important things I’ll ever tell you about persuasive presentations:

To be a successful persuasive presenter, you absolutely have to believe in your message. And you have to display passion.

Being persuasive requires understanding the audience

Mehrabian’s chart

You may have seen this pie chart before. It’s usually misinterpreted.

It comes from the work of Albert Mehrabian, Ph.D. He was measuring what happens when someone you know gives you mixed messages.

That’s like me telling you that “The weather’s not very good but I know you’re going to have great vacation” and saying it with a slight look of doubt on my face. You won’t hear anything about “great vacation.” My look of doubt reinforces the fact that the weather isn’t very good and, as a result, that’s the part of the sentence you’ll hear.

Or at the supermarket when you hear … Have a great day!

It’s simply not believable. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that line delivered believably. It’s not in the visual expression, but in the tone of voice.

What Mr. Mehrabian found is that the tone of your voice trumps the words, and your facial expressions and gestures are by far the most powerful.

If you want to be persuasive, your tone, gestures, and visual demeanor have to support an reinforce the verbal.

When your words don’t match your feelings, moods, or beliefs, the nonverbal will win out every time. So … if you’re doing a persuasive sales presentation and don’t really believe in the product or service you’ll promoting, the signs will be there. Your audience won’t be comfortable. They won’t believe you’re sincere.

Whenever there’s a conflict between the conscious and the nonconscious, the nonconscious will always win. Always.

I know that if I’m unsure, distracted, if I’m not there mentally and emotionally, the persuasive part of my presentation likely won’t go well.

So, … you need to absolutely believe in your message. It’s even more important that you’re a hundred percent confident in your delivery – your ability to perform effectively. Or it will show.

Giving a persuasive presentation? The first person you have to persuade is you.

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