Partners in Performance Blog

Words That Sell – Use Persuasive Words


MeharabianPersuasive words sell. There are multiple ways to weave persuasion into the fabric of your presentation. This week in Toronto, we had a lot of fun in our UPFRONT Persuasion workshop playing with persuasive words.

Thorough preparation and proper structure are essential for a compelling delivery: they foster confidence and your ability to walk through your presentation in a clear and logical way.

Part of your preparation should most certainly include developing relevant stories for social proof, analogies and evidence to support your key points.

And when it’s ‘show-time,’ there are many additional ways to spice up your delivery: having a grounded body stance, moving with intention, using gestures to enhance your message and building in lots of vocal variety for impact and emphasis.

But what about your words?

Persuasive Words Do Sell

Many people are familiar with the study by psychologist Albert Mehrabian. He explores the three ways we communicate and how each one impacts of our communication:

  1. Our words
  2. Our tonality
  3. Our body

For face-to-face communication the study reveals the impact as follows:

  • Body = 55%
  • Tonality = 38%
  • Words = 7%

Don’t confuse these results and conclude that words don’t count. The point to note here is that if our body and tone are not congruent with our words, body and tone will override our words. For example, if we stand up and say “I am thrilled to be here” but our face is expressionless and our words convey boredom you are not believable.

Words are powerful. The more we incorporate juicy, multi-sensory words into our vocabulary the more compelling we are. I shared one of my favourite resources in the workshop; a small soft cover book written by Richard Bayan called “Words That Sell”… (The Thesaurus to Help You Promote Your Products, Services and Ideas). When I write my blog posts, I keep this book close by.

It lists more than 2500 high powered words, phrases and slogans. It’s arranged by category for easy reference and covers everything from “snappy transitions” to ”grabbers”. There are 62 ways to say “exciting” alone; 57 variations on the word “reliable”.

I am not affiliate of Bayan’s but I probably should be. Go ahead get the book. You’ll be glad you did.

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This entry was posted by Tanja Parsley on October 2, 2014 in Persuasion, Presentation Skills, Sales Skills, UPFRONT Persuasion™. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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