Sandra Santos Conversari Gloal
Sandra Santos Conversari Global

The Secret to How to Influence Others and Build Trust: Developing your Talent for Public Speaking

Yesterday I led a three hour session on Pitching for Investment. The audience was 14 budding entrepreneurs and international business graduates at La Universidad Panamericana. The purpose of the session was simple:

Learn ‘how to gain trust, inspire confidence and positively influence others”. In other words, the participants were challenged in three hours to develop a personal elevator pitch that inspires others. This pitch needed to grab the attention of their audience (investors) and give the speakers a base to then deliver a winning pitch.

Sandra Santos

I want to share with you four simple tips and tricks on how to grab the attention of your audience. These tips will help you quickly build trust and influence others in a positive way. These ideas can be universally applied to business pitches, presentations, first meetings and networking.

Cuatro consejos para hablar en público, influir y ganar confianza.

ONE: Body language can gain more trust than your words

Words matter, but your body and voice create greater impact on listeners. It all links to the physiology of our brain. Body language and voice tone help tap into our emotions. So if you want to create trust, make sure you use open body language, show your hands and keep a solid posture.

Hiding your hands behind your back, fidgeting with things in your pockets, or pointing at people with your finger can all provoke negative reactions. The same goes for folding arms and crossing legs. Want to see this in practice, watch this TED talk by Will Stephen. Stephen will show you exactly how you can use your body to transfer a powerful message, even if the words are not significant.

Body language is everything

In yesterday’s session, it was great to see that with just a small bit of practice, participants could master some key body language tricks to create an impactful pitch. Well placed hands and firm poses worked really well.

TWO: Eye contact connects you to your audience.

For sure there are cultural factors relating to eye contact. But, in general it is a good idea to maintain visual contact with your audience. If there are multiple people in the crowd, make sure you make eye contact with them all. Looking at only one person, looking at the floor or staring into the sky are all ways to burn trust.

To make everyone feel included and to create confidence, maintain eye contact for a few seconds with one person (or area of the room) and then move on to another. A good way to manage this is moving to a new person/group after each sentence. Equally, avoid scanning too quickly from side to side.

When I give these training sessions, it is always wonderful to see people engaging their audience more through using their eyes. What is fascinating to watch is the audience engagement level increasing when they feel included. It can be a simple adjustment that makes a big difference.

THREE: Pace yourself so your audience can keep up

A typical thing I observe in public speaking is people going too fast. When your rhythm and pace goes too fast, your message can get lost. This is exacerbated when people are nervous. Words start to blend together and ideas have no clear connection.

The way to pace yourself is focus on two key ideas. Firstly: control your breathing. If you are breathing too fast, your words will probably come out too fast as well. Secondly: be conscious of your speed. Try to deliberately speak at half the speed you normally do. Make sure you observe your audience as they speak. Confused faces is often a clue you are speaking too fast.

FOUR: Practice and get feedback.

It sounds obvious, but practicing your speaking and getting feedback are vital. Try recording yourself and try practicing with critical (people who will give you honest feedback) friends, family and trusted others. Get people to explain how they experience your pitching, speaking and/or presenting. What emotions do you create? How do they feel? Is your message clear?

Reflect on what you can improve and then make changes. Don’t be afraid to try out new ideas and approaches and to keep refining your message and delivery. Try to be as conscious of your body language and voice as you can. The more aware you are, the easier it is to make changes and improve.

Interested in Becoming a Public Speaking Master of Influence and Trust?

If you are interested in becoming an expert in influence, creating trust and leading, help is on hand. Public speaking is a skill that can be improved with expert training and experience. The tips above are just some basics. There are many more things you can do to really steal the show.

Conversari Global now offers both in-company and public courses in leadership, influence and building trust. These courses all include a look at public speaking and how to use body, voice and words to create trust and influence.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact Tom Scott ().

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