Pitch your idea with an open mind (and an eye on your audience)

"If you don’t connect, you don’t persuade."

You need to speak the language of the listener, and this requires that you learn something about them as well as tailor your argument to meet their needs.

Here are three tips for connecting with people you are trying to persuade.

  1. Do your homework. Find out what others are thinking and doing. Listen to them speak. Learn their issues. Know their likes as well as dislikes.
  2. Speak their language. Integrate what you have learned into your pitch. If an individual is focused on sales, talk up the benefits of your idea. Give people a reason to believe in your idea by tailoring it to meet their needs.
  3. Keep cool. It takes guts to stand up for your ideas or your product. You need passion, but such passion can blind you from reading an audience. So pay attention to cues that people are sending out.

There is one more thing you can do, and for that, we turn to the philosopher Aristotle. He wrote, “Character may almost be called the most effective means of persuasion.”

So, if you want people to follow your argument, you need to demonstrate that you are capable as well as credible.

You want to be the leader others respect as well as trust.

John Baldoni is chair of leadership development at N2Growth, is an internationally recognized leadership educator and executive coach. In 2014, Trust Across America named him to its list of top 100 most trustworthy business experts. Also in 2014, Inc.com named Baldoni to its list of top 100 leadership experts, and Global Gurus ranked him No. 11 on its list of global leadership experts. Baldoni is the author of more than a dozen books, including his newest, “MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership.”

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