How to Be Convincing

Three Methods:Using Body LanguageSpeaking ConvincinglyBeing Convincing in Writing

Whether you are trying to make a sales pitch, or just asking your parents to let you stay out late, it is important to sound and appear convincing. The most important thing you can do is really mean what you say. Using confident body language and speaking/writing clearly will also show that you are believable and serious.

Method 1
Using Body Language

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    Make gestures and expressions. Moving your hands and making facial expressions while you speak can make you seem confident and convincing. For instance, when you say something positive, smile a bit and open your eyes a little wider. If you don’t move at all while you are speaking, people might become suspicious. On the other hand, it is important to not to overdo it. For instance:[1]
    • You can laugh a little if you say something funny, but don’t slap the table and act like its the most hilarious thing you’ve ever heard.
    • Likewise, if you are trying to convince your parents to increase your allowance, don’t start breaking down and crying. Instead, calmly present them with real reasons that you think you need more money.
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    Avoid distracting mannerisms. Certain gesture and actions can signal that you are nervous. While you are talking to someone, you will have to be conscious of your actions and make sure that you are not doing things like:[2]
    • Twitching
    • Swaying
    • Pacing
    • Tapping
    • Licking your lips
    • Playing with your hair.
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    Practice good posture. Standing up straight while you speak radiates confidence and makes you seem more convincing. However, don’t stiffen up. Just keep your head up, your back straight, and your feet slightly apart.[3]
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    Don’t lean on things. Propping yourself against a table or something else while you speak can suggest nervousness. On the other hand, standing firmly signals believability. If you are speaking to someone and don’t know what to do with your hands, try propping them slightly on your hips. This posture can seem confident, and will keep you from leaning on something else.[4]
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    Make eye contact. Looking someone in the eye while you speak is one of the easiest ways to seem convincing. However, don’t open your eyes too wide. You should also break the eye contact every now and then. Remember that you are trying to bond with someone, not win a staring contest.[5]
    • Even when you are speaking to large audiences, it is important to make eye contact. Find a few audience members that you can see clearly, and take turns looking them in the eye. Periodically look up to scan the rest of the audience.[6]
    • Remember that in certain cultures, it is considered rude or inappropriate to look someone in the eye while talking.

Method 2
Speaking Convincingly

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    Place emphasis on important points. When you come to something that is really significant, speak a little louder or more slowly. This doesn’t mean that you should shout at someone, or make yourself hard to understand. Speaking a little more emphatically at points, however, will make you seem convincing.[7]
    • For instance, if you are telling a potential client that your product is the best on the market, slow down and emphasize as you say something like “Our product beats ALL of our competitors’ by 25%.
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    Choose natural sounding speech. Generally, you should just try to talk normally, even when you are trying to sound convincing. A natural tone and normal phrasing will do the job all by itself.[8]
    • Using big words and clichéd phrases aren’t going to make you sound credible. Stick to language that is easy for listeners to follow.
    • Speak at a volume that is close to others' around you rather than sounding high-pitched or like you are mumbling.
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    Breathe deeply to regain composure. If you sense yourself getting nervous, starting to speak too fast, or doing something else that makes you seem unconvincing, slow down for a moment. Take a deep breath, and then continue.[9]
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    Give others room to speak. A good speaker will stop when appropriate and let others take a turn. Sharing rather than dominating a conversation shows that you have the confidence to listen to others and still hold onto your own thoughts. This will ultimately make what you say more believable.[10][11]
    • This is important even when you are talking to your parents. Give them a chance to talk, hear them out, and try to convince them of your point of view.
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    Avoid hedging or deferential language. The way you phrase what you say matters as much or more than the actual content of it. If you are trying to sound convincing, this means avoiding saying things like:[12]
    • “Well, um..”
    • “I think that maybe I…”
    • “This might be the case…”
    • “I don’t really know.”
    • “If I were [X], then I could [Y].”
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    Use vivid rather than abstract language. Being as specific as you can while you speak shows that you mean what you say. Try do include as many details, stories, facts, etc. as you can when speaking to others. For instance:[13]
    • If you are making a sales pitch, don’t just say something like “Our product has improved efficiency for a lot of people.” Instead, say something more detailed, like “99% of our customers report that our product has improved their efficiency by tenfold or more.”
    • If you are trying to convince your parents to let you stay out late, don’t just say something like “You never let me do what you want!” Try saying something more specific, like “You said if I improved my grades we could talk about letting me have more privileges.”

Method 3
Being Convincing in Writing

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    Avoid jargon. Overblown language can pop up even when speaking, but it has a tendency to pop up in writing even more frequently. Don’t be afraid to write simply. Remember that your goal is to seem clear and convincing. If your audience doesn’t understand your writing, it might seem that you are hiding something or don’t really have anything to say.[14]
    • Don’t use lofty language when it’s not appropriate. For instance, if you can say “improve” instead of “ameliorate,” then consider doing so.
    • If you use technical terms like “synergy,” make sure they are ones that your audience knows and uses.
    • Likewise, if you use slang or informal language, make sure your audience will understand what you mean.
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    Clean up your writing. Writing something that is sloppy, filled with errors and typos, or not formatted correctly will cause you to seem the opposite of convincing. Show your readers that you are credible and mean what you say by polishing your writing.[15]
    • Always proofread before submitting something.
    • Back up claims with specific evidence whenever possible.
    • Cite any sources of information you have used.
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    Let it be you. Showing your personality and coming across as natural in writing is more challenging than doing so while speaking. This is because readers will not have the ability to see you and read your body language. Try to do everything you can to have your writing show who you are, and what you are trying to convey.[16]
    • For instance, if you are writing a college admissions essay, don’t just say that you want to become a doctor because you think that sounds good to admissions committees. Instead, paint a picture of what your interests and goals really are, no matter what you think someone else wants to read.
    • Have someone you trust read your writing, and tell you if it “sounds like you.”

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Categories: Personality Traits and Attributes