How to get your Audience to Believe You

speaking tipsYou must Earn your Right to be in front of your Audience!

Regardless of how you present yourself, either as an expert, as a reporter or as a philosopher, you’ll need to provide some evidence that you have actually earned the right to be in front of your audience. Inevitably, you’ll have someone in your audience who’ll be asking the question, “Who says so, besides you?” or, “Why should I believe you?” Having the proper evidence gives you the ability to handle any such questions, and you may very well have to use this evidence.

When you have the proper evidence to support your talk, you remove yourself from any line of fire of anyone who might challenge you. This provides you with enormous confidence, because you know that you have the goods to defend yourself against someone who might oppose you. You have all the proof you need, and that gives you strength.

In addition, providing evidence helps your audience to put your information into its proper context in their minds. It allows your audience to see the real-life application of your ideas, your claims or your philosophy.

The evidence you provide can depend on how you position yourself when you speak. If you’re presenting yourself as an expert, your evidence is your personal experience. As a reporter, your evidence is your research. And as a philosopher, you offer an example of the application of your philosophy.

When I used to speak about my experience with my wife’s illness, I shared many stories with our audience. We gave true accounts of our experiences that support the purpose of the talk. As long as our accounts were factual, no one could challenge the validity of what we were saying, because our evidence was our experience. In addition, when we shared our own experiences, our audience could reflect upon the similarities and differences between our experience and their own, applying our information to both. This allows them to visualize how our information might apply personally to them.

When I speak about the illness from a scientific standpoint, I presented a lot of data and information that I had researched. I presented myself as a reporter. My evidence was the information I’d researched and the sources from which it came. I’d have copies of the books that I referenced, and I’d hold the books high in the air for all to see when I referenced them. This way, if someone challenged my information, all I had to do was refer them to the book. If they wanted to challenge the book, so be it, but that took me out of the line of fire.

When speaking and was disclosing my sources, this also allowed my audience to obtain their own copies, and to follow their own research, if they so chose. As a reporter, your evidence is the research you’ve done and the sources from which that research came.

In my book, I mention John Heney, who was a guest speaker at my business education and networking event called “Your Stage.” In John Heney’s presentation at “Your Stage,” he shared some of his philosophies with us. In his presentation, he also shared his personal accounts of how he applied his philosophies to heal himself from an illness that cripples almost everyone it touches. At the end of John’s presentation, he not only shared his philosophies, but he also provided examples of their application.

As a philosopher, your evidence is in the examples of how of your creative spin was applied to resolve a problem.

So, what’s the lesson? Providing evidence to support every point you make boosts your confidence, enhances your credibility, and helps your audience apply your information. Always have an answer for the questions, “Who says so, besides you?” and, “Why should I believe you?”

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The Certified Speaking Professional designation, established in 1980, is the speaking industry’s international measure of professional platform skill. The CSP designation is conferred by the National Speakers Association (NSA) only on those speakers who have earned it by meeting strict qualifying criteria. Only about 12% of the top professional speakers around the world hold this distinction.