ABSTRACT

Organizations consider public speaking to be a vital managerial skill. Interestingly, our assessment of the credibility of the content of a speaker’s ideas is largely based on their performance, even though there is no logical relationship between what is said and how it is said. We noted earlier, that Mehrabian (1972) had estimated that 55 per cent of the impact that individuals made on others came from non-verbal signals, and Chapter 2 considered this topic. However, according to Mehrabian, a further 38 per cent of the impact came from how people spoke. Stewart (1976) reported that, ‘management is a verbal world whose people are usually instructed, assisted and persuaded by personal contact rather than on paper’. Talking and listening occupy between a half and three-quarters of a manager’s time. It is therefore not surprising that managers prefer to be told things, rather than having to read them for themselves. This chapter concentrates on influencing a large group of people, and thus complements the preceding one on small group influencing. It will not discuss the mechanics of how to give presentations, but will focus upon the psychology of influencing a large group of people. It will offer advice on how best to present yourself, structure and sequence your material, and ‘read’ your audience, so as to give your message the maximum persuasive impact.