Becoming A More Persuasive Communicator

IRI Podcast Episode on Persuasive Communication

In business, we’re all looking for great ideas -- but no matter how great the idea, ideas alone will only get you so far. To really make an impact, you need to be able to successfully communicate with prospects, customers, employees and investors – and that’s a skill that is all-too-often overlooked. The good news is, it’s never too late to become a more effective and strategic communicator! Today, Jennifer talks with Scott Irgang, a Senior Consultant with IRI Consultants. Here, he explains:

  • Why it's so important to become an effective, persuasive communicator;
  • Why great content doesn't guarantee a great presentation;
  • Why executives are rarely critiqued on their presentation skills (even when they should); and
  • How everyone can become better communicators through the use of The Four V's to Persuasive Communication!

If you prefer to read along while you listen, we've done all the hard work for you! We listened back to this episode and took notes below, and access is free! 


Communication Skills

  • There are many kinds of communication, and communication has different meanings in different industries. However, the elements of effective and persuasive communication are the same throughout.


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Busting Common Communication Myths

  • Content is everything: This is not the case! Just because you hit all your bullet-points doesn’t mean yoo’ve reached yur audience, or that your communication has been effective.
  • Executives get a pass: Also a myth! Just because someone is a high level executive, doesn’t mean they’re good communicators. 
    • One of the issues that leaders face is having a lack of feedback in their inner circle in terms of their communication skills. 
    • When leadership has poor communication skills, it affects the brand recognition and reputation of the company, so having leaders who can effectively communicate is essential.

Successful Communicators

  • While it’s great to have someone who is a naturally strong communicator, it’s important that everyone develops persuasive communication skills. While some might be naturally better at public speaking, presentations, or communication, communication skills can be learned.
  • Knowing your audience is an important part about being a successful and persuasive communicator
    • Knowing the demographic, keeping presentations engaging and concise, and gearing presentations to the intended audience are some of the keys to a successful presentation.
    • In a corporate setting, it’s also important that the presentation is authentic and trustworthy. It’s important that employees trust the presenter as employers, it’s important that investors trust the presenter with their money, and it’s important that everyone trusts the presenter with the company’s brand.

Communicating and Unions

  • Communication is a critical element when it comes to union campaigns:
    • Leaders need to understand how to communicate about unions with employees, as well as understand the legal restrictions that come with communication during a union campaign.
    • Union organizing campaigns can be very passionate, and very personal, so knowing being able to persuasively communicate, and speak with emotion is important in these situations because it makes the message more effective and genuine.

Assessing our Ability to Communicate

  • Personally assessing communication skills are difficult, so asking feedback from trusted friends is a good idea for practicing for a presentation. 
    • It is important to ask for places for improvement, and what went wrong in the presentation for constructive criticism.
    • The next step would be getting feedback from a colleague or another professional for coaching.
    • Getting advice from other people is also a great way to measure engagement and adapting presentations to the audience.
  • It is also helpful to record presentations and watch them back to point out room for improvement, and to be able to see growth overtime. 

Persuasive Presentation

  • The Four V’s to Persuasive Communication, which make for strong presentations and a clear critical message, are as follows:
    • Verbal
      • There is a lot of power in words and the word choice in presentations or speeches. It is really important that the language in a presentation matches the message, as well as the audience. Using specific, digestible words leads to the most effective messaging.
    • Vocal
      • Not only is there power in the words spoken, but also how they are spoken. The most effective speakers are controlled, have good volume, tone, and pacing, and provide emphasis on key words to engage the audience
      • Presenting is a performance, so it is important to prepared, to be mindful of the execution and the delivery, and to use your voice to make the words impactful.
    • Visual
      • The way you present visually is just another tool in your presentation toolbox. Wearing the proper attire for the occasion, using interesting body language, and bringing energy to the presentation can all be critical to connecting with your audience.
      • It is also important to make sure the visuals of the presentation are consistent with the messaging. 
    • Venue
      • The best presentations happen when speakers are familiar and comfortable in the space in which they are giving the speech. By checking out the venue beforehand, knowing what the set up will look like, and rehearsing the presentation in the space, the presenter can have more control when the real thing happens. 

Pivoting with Skill

  • Things happen that can derail us from our original presentation plans – and to handle the random change-up, it’s important that we be able to adapt to situations as they change.
  • It can be very difficult to pivot in the middle of a presentation, or present in a way that is unfamiliar. But acknowledging the need to pivot, thinking on your feet and, when necessary, forgetting about the powerpoint slides or the microphones in order to better connect with the audience is the key, even when unexpected things happen.

IRI Consultants

  • In addition to their many other offerings, IRI Consultants provides persuasive communication and presentation training to companies, teaching groups and individuals to effectively communicate and connect with their audiences! 

Scott Irgang Background

  • JD, Labor Law, NLRB Practice from State University of New York College at Buffalo
  • BS, Labor Relations from Cornell University
  • Served as Partner at Kreitzman, Mortensen, Simon & Irgang
  • Worked as Senior Vice President of Labor Relations for Stop & Shop Supermarket Company and as Director of Labor Relations, Employee Engagement & Culture for Pitney Bowes
  • Founder and President of SLI Associates/Verbal Dexterity
  • He was the Director of Labor Relations for The Broadway League
  • Currently, he serves as a Senior Consultant with IRI Consultants


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About the Author Jacqueline Gregory

A 20+ year media veteran, Jacqui has produced custom communications for some of the world's best-known brands. Producing ProjectHR has been one of her favorite ways to engage and delight HR and Labor Relations professionals!

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