How can you create a message that most influences others? Use these important research backed tips in order to make the biggest impact. Psychologists over the years have studied human interaction to determine there are helps that can bolster the influence you leverage through your message, be it a speech or one-on-one conversation.


Here Are 19 Ways To Better Present Your Case to Influence Others.

  1. Present Both Sides: two-sided arguments fare better than their one-sided equivalents (as long as counter-arguments are shot down). Don’t be afraid to say, “Here is what some might argue.” Then counter that argument. Daniel O’Keefe at the University of Illinois collected together the results of 107 different studies on persuasion He found those who could play their own devil’s advocate were most influential in their message actually converting others.

  2. Be Relevant: The What’s-In-It-For-Me (WIIFM) factor is high for us all. Ignore sharing what’s in it for me as a listener and you’ll find your audience will soon be disinterested in what you have to say. Make sure your message is highly relevant to the audience. Go through and count your uses of “me,” “I,” and “my” versus the usage of “you” and “your.” Strive for a high ratio of “you” and “your” to “I” type language. This will help ensure your message is relevant and has your audience as the stars, not you.

  3. Tie into Human Motivations: In creating your message, understand three key human motivations which every person desires. These are belonging (connecting with others), accuracy (thinking we are making good decision on right information) and positive self-concept (protecting the “good view” we have of ourselves). Have these three in the front of your mind when you review your message.

  4. Match message and medium: Every message has emotional content to it. Make sure the message and the medium are congruent. A humorous skit on world hunger or terrorism obviously isn’t the best choice. Most message-medium connections are subtler to connect to this. Ask yourself, “Does this medium I’m using to convey my argument help or hurt the message?”

  5. Avoid an influence forewarning: People don’t like to think they are being sold on anything even though we constantly are being sold. Don’t open with “Today, I will try and influence/persuade you that…” If you do, walls go straight up. People start generating internal counter-arguments and will be much more resistant to your influence.

  6. Slow Down with Friends/Speed Up with Enemies: Your rate of speech plays an important part in influencing others. While the above advice sounds counter-intuitive, scientific research shows it actually accurate If you have a sympathetic audience already leaning toward accepting your position, then present the argument slowly so they can ruminate on it and more internalize it. If the audience is against you increasing your rate of speech will not allow them time to develop counter-arguments internally.

  7. Be Likeable: There is a reason great speakers often begin with a humorous, sometimes even self-deprecating story. The audience thinks, “This speaker has something in common with me.” This serves to ingratiate you with the audience.

  8. Be an Authority: People listen to and agree with perceived experts. Research has shown that people tend to defer to experts because it saves them the mental work of figuring out the pros and cons on their own. There are numerous ways to promote your authority from the more formal such as being published as an authors or furthering your education, to the less formal of using testimonials, or speaking of your experience with a certain topic.

  9. Repeat your key arguments: People rate statements that have been repeated just once as more valid or true than things they’ve heard for the first time. They even rate statements as true when the person saying them has been repeatedly lying (Begg et al., 1992). It seems our minds subconsciously perceive repetition as a measure of truth—as if our mind says, “I’ve heard this before so it must be true” even if just hearing it moments before.

  10. Use social proofs: The saying holds true, “We all love to be different as long as we’re different just like everyone else.” Let people know where trends are going and soon you’ll have created a flock heading in the same direction. Deep down we really are conformers.

  11. Hold Attention: If you sense the audience is starting to lose attention, do something unexpected. If people aren’t tuned in to your argument, they won’t change their minds. Suggestions: Ask a question, have them stand, take a break, or do anything that changes the one-way conversation.

  12. Minimize distraction: When possible, control the environment of a formal or informal influence session. Arrive early and see if anything would distract you or your audience visually or aurally. (Of course, if your influence argument is weak you might actually hope for a momentous distraction.)

  13. Frame Your Influence Message Positively: Framing the end picture positively is more effective than the “If we don’t do this we are doomed” approach.

  14. Disguise: messages are more persuasive if they don’t appear to be intended to persuade or influence as they can sidestep psychological reactance (hence the power of overheard arguments to change minds).

  15. Tailor to heart or mind: messages should match the processing preferences of the audience. Know if your audience is head-wired or heart-wired and frame your argument accordingly. Also, if possible, assess your audience’s willingness to think deeply.

  16. Be natural: influence is best achieved when the message and audience are heading in the same direction. Taking a hard right during your influence session might seem as a good dramatic turn, but flowing naturally by speaking to thoughts or objections that arise from where you are in your presentation is more persuasive.

  17. Inspire Your Audience’s Confidence: Praising your audience isn’t just a nicety. Doing so can make them feel more confident about a change of mind or direction. Even better, convincing them is easier when they are joyful or happy. Humor is a great tool.

  18. Empower them: No one wants to be forced to change. “Stop” and “quit” are negative words that research shows no one really likes. Your influence presentation should leave your audience feeling like the ball is in their court to make the decision.

  19. Approach strong beliefs indirectly: Strong attitudes, commitments, vows and beliefs are difficult to change. Trying to change these straight on will prove fruitless unless your audience has reached a major crisis in their belief system. Do not directly approach long-standing ideas to which people are committed, they will resist and reject. If you are attempting to change a person or audience’s core beliefs you had better ready to tread lightly, go slowly and approach indirectly.

Start Influencing Others More Effectively in Your Communication

Stack these approaches together when you need to influence an individual or audience. You’ll need to make some adaptions depending on whether you are attempting to influence someone through a one-on-one conversation or a speech to a larger audience.

Of course, the basic strength of your argument is critical to success. The 19 helps are just that, helps. Incorporate them to amplify you basic argument as you learn how to influence others more effectively. 


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From regional manager to international executive with quadruple the pay, Karen Keller’s unique blueprint carefully outlined the step-by-step process for creating high-impact influence and let me know when I was being influenced in a way that didn’t serve me.
Lloyd Moore
Global Director Supplier Quality & Development - Lear Corporation – South Carolina