informal forms of education. I need to look clean and manicured. Details are important. I would wear something casual yet stylish. It is important to dress for success, too, since success is part of what I am selling. I cannot look too casual - I must look like I have achieved something in life because of my educational track.
This attitude should also be reflected in non-verbal behaviors. I would focus my nonverbal cues on energy and enthusiasm. I want my audience to be excited about traditional education. Part of what I am presenting in an educational track that will give students power and control over their life, so I need to move in a way that shows those two attributes. Movements should not be too exaggerated, but I cannot be stiff either. Audience sizes will probably range from dozens to hundreds, sufficient that nonverbal cues such as an expressive face and vocal inflections can have significant impact. Elimination of unwanted nonverbal behaviors is just as important as building in desirable behaviors. Unwanted nonverbal behaviors can include perspiration, pauses, tics, stiffness and restlessness. Many of these can be dealt with before the presentation. I must know my material by rote, which requires ample practice. I should feel comfortable with my clothing and my knowledge of the audience. It is important to appear comfortable even if I am not. I should be well-rested, well-groomed and energized. I will also give practice speeches before an audience, so that I can receive feedback about nonverbal behaviors I may not be aware of.
Part of persuading the audience is to engage them - they must listen actively. Encouraging active listening is done several ways. These include making eye contact with the audience, using positive body language, repeating the key phrases, asking rhetorical questions. It also helps to play on the personal rapport you have built with the audience. I will need to flexible enough to incorporate some of that day's or that speech's experiences in the process, to show the audience that I am speaking specifically and directly to them.
It is important, however, that audience interaction be carefully managed. While I do not expect, for example, hostile heckling, the potentiality is something that must be accounted for. The best way to diffuse such a situation would be to engage my quick wit and then proceed with the speech. The heckler cannot be allowed to control the situation. The procedure is slightly more delicate for a questioner...
No disrespect can be shown a curious party, so they should be invited to discuss their particular issues after the question period has been concluded. This shows respect for both the questioner and the rest of the audience. Should there be any argument in the audience, I will do my best to control the situation. I can do this by taking the point of argument and addressing it. However, by making the tenor of the speech positive and energetic, I can hopefully prevent such instances before they arise.
Persuasive speech is not simply about having great talking points. Nonverbal communication is crucial. Building a rapport with the audience is also essential. This gives you credibility and serves to reinforce rather than underline your message.
With a sharp, casual appearance and energetic demeanor I hope to convince the students of the merits of traditional ground-based education over online education.
Main topic #1: Traditional education yields higher salaries and standard of living
Supporting point #1: comparison of salaries
Supporting point #2: established track record
Supporting point #3: employer surveys showing value placed on traditional education
Main topic #2: Traditional education incorporates online techniques
Supporting point #1: online courses
Supporting point #2: electronic communication with classmates
Supporting point #3: many traditional education programs have the same flexibility
Main topic #3: Additional benefits of traditional education
Supporting point #1: face-to-face interaction with classmates and professors
Supporting point #2: formal structure increases student discipline, therefore learning
Supporting point #3: more complex social interactions with peers/value of campus life
Summary of points
Conclusion/call to action
No author. (2008). How to give a persuasive presentation. eHow.com. Retrieved November 12, 2008 at http://www.ehow.com/how_18316_give-persuasive-presentation.html
Pierce, Sarah. (2007). The perfect presentation: appearance. Entrepreneur.com. Retrieved November 12, 2008 at http://www.entrepreneur.com/marketing/marketingbasics/article182438.html
Newell-Legner, Ruby. (2004). Ways to Promote Active Listening. RubySpeaks.com. Retrieved November 12, 2008 at http://www.rubyspeaks.com/articles/listening.asp
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